The NBA fined Miami Heat owner Micky Arison $500,000 on Monday for recent comments he made on Twitter that violated the league's censure on speaking publicly about the lockout, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The fine is one of the largest for an individual in NBA history.
NBA commissioner David Stern came down hard for what was a clear undermining of the league’s selling point that the owners are united on demanding sweeping and unprecedented financial givebacks from the Players Association. While the union has long believed there are severe splits between big- and small-market owners, this was the first public sentiment from such a high-ranking NBA official confirming it.
Arison responded to a poster on Twitter who had directed a comment to him questioning, “How does it feel to be a part of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don’t give a damn about fans … Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over … you greedy pigs.”
In response, Arison posted: “You are barking at the wrong owner.”
The response clearly fortified the belief Arison is part of a more moderate group of owners, mostly from big markets, who don’t share the opinion of the majority of hardliners who think the NBA needs to keep the players locked out to achieve financial concessions.
Another fan on Twitter asked Arison what he thought about eccentric Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and Arison responded with "lol."
The tweets created an uproar on Twitter, inspiring Arison to soon delete them.
Stern has a strict policy that no league official – including owners, executives, front office personnel or coaches – are allowed to speak about the particulars of the lockout.
Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
• Kris Humphries 'blindsided' by Kim Kardashian's divorce filing
• Tony La Russa's unexpected departure is a loss for baseball
• Long-winded referee delivers 63-word explanation on call
- Micky Arison