This isn’t something you see too often.
After Kentucky’s loss to UNC in last year’s Elite Eight, a host of Wildcat fans sent angry and threatening messages to referee John Higgins. The UK supporters were irate over a number of controversial calls Higgins had made.
Well, Higgins is fighting back, and he’s doing so in an unusual way. According to The Athletic’s Dana O’Neil, the veteran official is suing UK fan site and media operation Kentucky Sports Radio, alleging “intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, tortious interference with a business, and civil conspiracy.”
Per O’Neill, Higgins is claiming KSR operators Matt Jones and Drew Franklin shared his personal and business information (Higgins owns a roofing company) online and caused damages to his family and company.
A Vimeo montage on one message board (not KSR) showing supposed bad calls by Higgins ended with a picture of Higgins next to a Weatherguard truck. Alongside the photograph was the company’s phone number, website address, as well as the Higgins’ home phone number. That video eventually found its way onto the KSR website.
The lawsuit also alleges that Jones and Franklin allowed commenters on KSR to post links to Weatherguard’s website on the KSR website and its Facebook page. Jones also repeatedly referenced – and even spelled out – the company’s website name on a radio show that he hosts.
Jones himself has briefly acknowledged the lawsuit on Twitter, though he claimed to have no prior knowledge of it.
So John Higgins is suing us apparently https://t.co/gv5WUVa1DZ
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) October 3, 2017
Like we said, this is something that you just don’t see in college basketball. We’ll update you of any further developments.
KSR also found its way into the news last March when Franklin claimed the NCAA made him delete a video of Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall’s wife getting rowdy in the stands during an NCAA Tournament game.
[ The Athletic ]