A law firm representing the National Basketball Referees Association has demanded that Twitter user Incarcerated Bob disclose information and sources pertaining to game-fixing accusations made against long-time referee Greg Willard.
The NBRA disputes Bob’s claims that Willard and boxer Floyd Mayweather developed a personal relationship, one that was allegedly used to help Mayweather earn huge paydays by betting on games Willard officiated, according to a letter obtained by Beyond the Bets.
“These publications contain serious allegations that are both potentially career threatening and criminal in nature as they pertain to Mr. Willard,” the law firm wrote in the letter. “We have conducted an investigation into these allegations and determined that there is no basis in fact for any association between Mr. Willard and Mr. Mayweather whatsoever. In fact, our investigation has revealed that the two men have never met each other.”
The letter comes in response to a series of tweets written by Bob in mid-May.
- “NBA Ref Greg Willard was guest of Floyd Mayweather at 2 training sessions b4 fight! He was Ref of Clippers & OKC big bets.” [May 15]
- “NBA scandal 1st reported here #IBN involving NBA Ref Greg Willard & Floyd Mayweather. [May 17]
- “Anybody find it curious NBA #Ref Greg Willard hasn’t officiated another game since I broke the story about his relationship with Mayweather.” [May 21]
One of the games in question—the Los Angeles Clippers’ 99-98 Game 1 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs—featured a 24-point fourth-quarter comeback by the Clippers, one of the biggest in postseason history.
[Related: A more thorough review of the Clippers' comeback shows no evidence of game-fixing. However, Willard officiated with Tim Donaghy in the infamous Game 3 between the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Playoffs. Click here for more.]
Bob tweeted prior to the game that Mayweather wagered $1.8 million on the Clippers at multiple sportsbooks. (A day later, Mayweather denied that he placed the bet, telling MLive.com: “Some of the games that they’re talking about are rumors they put out there, that are false.”)
“I must have shook somebody up in the NBA offices,” Bob wrote in an email to BTB. “Last time I checked, I’m not the only person who has been rather curious with how the refs are handling games this playoffs. These scare tactics from lawyers of the NBA Refs Association just proves they want me to shut up. You do the math.”
This isn’t the first time the NBRA has threatened to take action against a Twitter user.
In a complaint filed against the Associated Press on March 14, 2011, referee William Spooner sought more than $75,000 in damages over a defamatory tweet written by reporter Jon Krawczynski, who accused Spooner of implying he would give a make-up call to Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis.
The AP later settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay Spooner $20,000 in damages to help cover legal costs and remove the tweet from Krawczynski’s account.
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- After a brief absence following Thunder-Lakers Game 1, Willard returned to action on May 22 for Heat-Pacers Game 5. He also officiated Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and Thunder.
- If Willard did, in fact, attend two recent Mayweather training sessions, is it possible that HBO would have captured him while filming “Mayweather vs. Cotto 24/7“?
- Mayweather is scheduled to serve a prison sentence beginning June 1 on misdemeanor domestic violence charges.