SBD/Issue 180/Sports Media

Tony La Russa Settles Lawsuit Against Twitter Out Of Court

La Russa Says Key Issue Was
Unauthorized Use Of His Name
MLB Cardinals manager Tony La Russa Friday said that his lawsuit against Twitter "has been settled out of court," according to Derrick Goold of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. La Russa sued Twitter last month for "trademark infringement, cybersquatting and misappropriation of name and likeness." La Russa said that damages "would likely consist of covering legal fees," as well as a possible donation to La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) charity. La Russa said the donation to ARF is "not going to be too ridiculous." La Russa said the biggest misconception about the lawsuit "was that it was about somebody using Twitter to be critical of me. ... No, it was the improper use of the name." Goold noted La Russa's "key issue was what he called 'the unauthorized use' of his name." La Russa "did not say what would be done with the fake page, which carried a domain name of www.twitter.com/TonyLaRussa." It is "likely that page will remain under ARF control for the charity's use" (STLTODAY.com, 6/5).

FAKE I.D.: In N.Y., Vacchiano & O'Keeffe noted one of the "unintended consequences" of Twitter is that "imposters are everywhere." A Twitter message under La Russa's name in April read, "Lost 2 out of 3, but we made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher." The post was an "obvious reference to the deaths of two Cardinals pitchers since 2002 and La Russa's own DUI incident two years ago." Meanwhile, Eagles CB Asante Samuel last month Tweeted a Super Bowl guarantee that was reported locally, but Samuel "didn't have a Twitter account." Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger also supposedly made comments via Twitter despite not having an actual account. As of Friday, there were "10,848 people 'following' a fake account under" Colts QB Peyton Manning's name, while "another 17,084 were following a fake" account under Giants QB Eli Manning's name. Eli Manning: "I haven't gotten hurt by it. But it was important for Peyton and I to get it out there that we're not on Twitter. We won't be using it. So if anybody gets a message saying it's from Eli or Peyton, it's not us" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/7). In Philadelphia, John Gonzalez writes, "Bully for [La Russa] for taking on those who enable the nameless, faceless cyber-assassins who don't have the cojones to put their names on their cheap handiwork." Gonzalez: "Considering all the fake Twitter accounts that are out there ... Twitter could go under if every sports figure sued them" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/8).

Several Professional Leagues Tweet Useful
Information Like Scores, Schedules On Twitter
GAME CHANGING PERFORMANCE: Time magazine's Sean Gregory in a special to SI.com wrote Twitter is "scoring for the pro leagues." The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NASCAR "shoot their followers useful information like scores, schedules, and highlight clips, and inane chatter." Trackingtwitter.com indicated that the NBA, which "claims more than 600,000 followers, has a greater Twitter audience than all brand accounts besides Whole Foods and online shoe retailer Zappos." For "niche leagues, Twitter provides a powerful marketing tool." WPS is "counting on Twitter to build a fan base," and "even encourages players to tweet during games." There is "also the way Twitter ... peels back the curtain on an athlete's existence, showcasing personality layers never seen at press conferences." When athletes "share details of their most mundane tasks, joys and frustrations, fans are fascinated." Twitter also "lets athletes speak on their own terms." Rams RB Steven Jackson said Twitter is "going to be useful during the season, because after a game, I'll be able to say my piece instead of just allowing different media outlets to portray me how they want to portray me." But Eagles LB Omar Gaither said, "I don't think I want to tell people everything I do all day. It's just invasive. It's like you're on a reality show, and you have a camera following you around all day, every day." NBA Commissioner David Stern: "I believe we will ultimately have Twitter fatigue" (SI.com, 6/5).

OUT OF BOUNDS: LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens last month proposed having players tweet during competition and in Nashville, David Climer writes Bivens "doesn't get this." During her "four-year reign of error as LPGA commissioner, Bivens has repeatedly dropped the golf ball and in the process has helped devalue the women's pro tour." Now she is "all Twittered out." Tournament golf "does not lend itself to the on-course intervention of social media." Bivens is "grasping at straws in her attempts to make the LPGA more than an afterthought on the sports landscape." Climer: "Now it's Twitter. What's next, electronic digital messaging on golf bags?" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/8).

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