November 02, 2011

Miami Heat Owner Fined $500k for Seven-Word Tweet


While I'm sure the majority of active Twitter users have regretted firing out at least one tweet in their lifetime, it's fairly safe to say that no one has ever paid more for it than Micky Arison.

The Miami Heat owner on Monday was fined a cool $500,000 by NBA commissioner David Stern for talking about the lockout on Twitter, and seemingly suggesting that a rift has developed among the owners.

The fine, originally reported by Yahoo Sports, was levied after Arison engaged in an animated exchange with Miami Heat fans over the lockout, which has already resulting in hundreds of games being cancelled and millions of dollars lost for both owners and players.

Responding to a user's tweet referring to players and owners as "greedy pigs," Arison fired back: "You are barking at the wrong owner."

The tweet – along with several other less declarative statements – drew immediate ire from fellow owners and league executives, even though Arison deleted the message after only an hour.

For obvious reasons, the league specifically bans owners and coaches from talking about the NBA lockout publicly. Arison's hefty fine easily trumps those levied on Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, who were each docked $100,000 for making disparaging remarks about the salary cap and the NBA's current business model.

Stern – known for making aggressive, unilateral, line-in-the-sand decisions throughout his 20-plus years as commissioner –came down hard on Arison to send a message to other owners. Like in any other negotiation between unions, if one side senses that there is a division amongst the other party, nearly all leverage is lost.

By suggesting that friction might exist between the owners, Arison could be giving the players hope that the NBA will back off its demands of a 50/50 revenue split and a hard salary cap, which would level the playing field and eliminate the advantage of higher market teams – like the Heat.

So far, no winners have emerged from this who-blinks-first affair. Within the next few months, the revenue lost from cancelled gains will exceed the money that is being argued over. Until that happens, pride – on both sides – will most likely continue to be the determining factor in the schism between owners and players.

As for Arison, he shouldn't have any problems keeping a roof over his head. As the CEO of Carnival, Arison is one of the 100 wealthiest people in the world.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves




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