NBA owner gets half-million dollar fine for one tweet

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Speaking your mind on Twitter can be costly—if you’re in the NBA.

With a month worth of NBA games already cancelled because of the lockout, dozens of players have been taking to Twitter to air their frustration and sadness without fine or punishment. Others, like Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, used the microblogging platform to find a game of flag football.

One NBA team owner, on the other hand, is facing an enormous fine for his criticism of the league on Twitter.

Miami Heat owner Micky Arison has been fined $500,000 by the NBA for several critical tweets of the lockout that has plagued the league for the last five months, reported the Los Angeles Time blog.

“Honestly u r barking at the wrong owner,” tweeted Arison in response to a tweet calling NBA team owners “greedy…pigs,” according to the LA Times.

A search of Arison’s Twitter feed did not reveal the tweet.

Since the summer, the NBA has been in a tense lockout over salary cap- and basketball-related income. On Oct. 27, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that all games scheduled for November had been canceled and that he believed a full season of basketball was not possible.

In an interview with the New York Times, Stern made no apologizes for the heavy fine against Arison, who is worth $4.2 billion, according to the LA Times.

“It was more about his timing,” Stern told the New York Times. “We’re trying very hard to get a deal done with the players, or we were, and we don’t need any external distractions to that focus.”

The fine, however, illustrates the different standards that owners are held to in the league. NBA Players Assn. President Derek Fisher, by contrast, continues to effectively use Twitter to leverage support for the players. His hashtag, #standunited, has become a motto of sorts in the negotiations.

“LET US PLAY #StandUnited” Fisher tweeted on Oct. 10, a message than was retweeted more than 100 times.   

Such Twitter-related fines are common in the NBA, however. Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got a $25,000 bill in 2009 for tweets critical of league officiating, according to U.S. News.

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