Tony La Russa Sues Twitter

Manager unhappy about fake tweets

If there has been one untrustworthy thing about Twitter, the suddenly-insanely-popular micro-messaging service, it's been the service's shaky handling of fake profiles. Whether by removing fake "Mad Men" profiles, allowing basically anyone to sign up for the service with any email account, or only recently policing celebrity profiles and verifying their authenticity, Twitter has been slightly inconsistent in figuring out how to handle the fakers out there.

One new Twitter twist, at least in the "sports celebrities" demographic suddenly using the service in droves, is legal action. But that's exactly what Twitter is facing from famously caustic Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. La Russa discovered a fake profile using his name on the service -- complete with inappropriate tweets and description comments -- and is suing the platform in what will surely be a landmark case, if by "landmark" you mean, "will cause us to laugh every time we remember it."

From the case's description on the Citizen Media Law Project:

Anthony La Russa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, sued Twitter after an unknown Twitter user created an account at and pretended to post updates as La Russa. The fake Twitter page included La Russa's photo and a handful of vulgar and apparently Cardinals-related updates. One line of the "profile" suggested it was all a fake: "Bio Parodies are fun for everyone." La Russa's complaint alleged that the fake Twitter page constituted trademark infringement and dilution, cybersquatting, and misappropriation of name and likeness.

According to the plaintiff (La Russa), La Russa's people tried to contact the service about removing the profile -- something Twitter would surely have done, as it has in other cases -- but received no response. Hence the lawsuit.

Often, celebrities and sports types are far too sensitive about Twitter parody. They freak out. But La Russa might have a point here: tweets like the one listed by the San Fransisco Chronicle (""Lost 2 out of 3, but we made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher.") whether funny or not, are the exact sort of thing we'd be unhappy about too. If La Russa could get mad about anything on Twitter, it's that.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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