SBD/Issue 178/Sports Media

La Russa Filed Suit Against Twitter Over Page Impersonating Him

La Russa Alleges He Suffered
Emotional Distress Over Twitter
MLB Cardinals manager Tony La Russa last month filed suit in S.F. Superior Court against Twitter, alleging that "he had 'suffered significant emotional distress (and) damage to reputation' because of a fake page established under his name" on the site, according to Derrick Goold of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The suit alleges that attempts to have Twitter "remove the fake page were not successful until the suit was filed in early May." Twitter "removed the false page shortly after the lawsuit was filed," and La Russa yesterday said he thought the "issue was done." La Russa sued for "trademark infringement, trademark dilution and misappropriation of name and likeness" over "unauthorized and unflattering statements made under his name" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/4).

OUT OF BOUNDS: LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens has encouraged players to use Twitter during rounds, and in N.Y., Hank Gola wrote, "It's nice that the commish, who has been hammered over more than a few decisions since she took office, is thinking out of the box. But that's exactly where a cell phone should stay when it comes to golf -- in the box." Bivens' approval of tweeting during a round "says a lot about her knowledge of the actual game of golf." With all the tournaments the LPGA has lost "as a result of the economic downturn, there's no question it needs to reach out to fans and potential sponsors." Howeverm that is "why Pro-Ams are so important" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/31). Gold World's John Hawkins said of tweeting during rounds, "This is what marketers think of. This is what people who shouldn’t run sports leagues think of doing to ‘improve’ the product. The competition is really all that matters. It’s sacred. The competitive element should be conducted in a cocoon. ... Does anybody really think that Twitter’s going to make the LPGA a bigger (thing)?” (“19th Hole,” Golf Channel, 6/3).

NOTHING GROUNDBREAKING: In Ft. Lauderdale, Ethan Skolnick wrote athletes "shouldn't tweet, and it has nothing to do with the risk that they might give away classified information." Most athletes "don't reveal much on Twitter anyway, other than that they have mastered the cliche." The problem is that the "more they tweet, the more fans will realize what the media did long ago: That a lot of these ... guys simply aren't that interesting" (, 6/1). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote, "I'm not chirping with delight over athletes and coaches trying to out-Twitter each other. It's just TMI." Frenette: "Nothing against this social networking. When used properly, Twitter can fill a void in the lives of fans craving insider anecdotes. You just have to get through all the fluff to find anything worth your attention. ... Can we expect people to be enthralled over golfer Natalie Gulbis endorsing a lip gloss or driver Bobby Labonte telling fans he stopped at a Five Guys for a burger?" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/2). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said Twitter "may be sweeping the country, but so did hula-hoops. So did pet rocks. It’s incredibly self-indulgent” (, 6/3).

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