Micky Arison, the owner of the Miami Heat, got a nasty surprise on Monday from officials at the NBA. Arison was hit with a half million dollar fine for using his Twitter account to respond to fans about the lockout. Arison, also the CEO of the Carnival cruise line, has about 25,000 followers and the account has been verified by Twitter. The tweets that caught the attention of NBA officials occurred on Friday when Arison fired off a series of whimsical replies to NBA fans that are frustrated about the current status of the lockout. While he deleted many of the tweets within an hour of posting, David Stern and other NBA officials were petitioned by owners of NBA teams to request a hefty fine. Under the current agreement, NBA owners are under strict instructions not to discuss the ongoing negotiations.
One of the more inflammatory tweets from a fan stated “How’s it feel to be apart of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don’t give a damn about fans and guess what? Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over, you greedy pigs.” Arison responded with “You are barking at the wrong owner.”
This tweet indicates that there’s a growing divide between NBA owners regarding the negotiating terms of the lockout. After tweeting about the NBA situation, Arison has pulled back from lockout issues and seems to be tweeting about Carnival as well as family.
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is also no stranger to NBA fines for tweets. In 2009, Cuban was fined $25,000 for tweeting negative comments about the officiating crew at a game. Also in 2009, NBA player Brandon Jennings used Twitter right after a game and violated a NBA rule about tweeting before all players have finished post-game media interviews. Fines for tweeting aren’t simply restricted to the NBA either. In 2010, Terrell Owens violated the NFL’s rule of tweeting 90 minutes before a game and received a $5,000 fine.