When not waving guns at teammates or missing about 65% of his field goal attempts, Gilbert Arenas likes to Tweet. One nugget of wisdom: “Dont u hate waking up doing the same thing .. wash face .. brush teeth .. pee .. take shower (well sum of us) … put on clothes … eat … etc,”. He also live-tweets during blind dates.
A Los Angeles court found that the First Amendment barred the Orlando Magic guard’s attempt to enjoin his ex from appearing on the show Basketball Wives Los Angeles. The court ruled that Arenas’ claim that the show did not involve matters of public concern – and therefore was entitled to lesser Constitutional protection – “is belied by the tens of thousands of Twitter users who follow Arenas as he tweets about a variety of mundane occurrences.”
Courts are reluctant to impose their own value judgments on speech (even reality shows) when deciding whether it is of “public concern” for First Amendment purposes. Earlier this year, for example, the Supreme Court held that vulgar signs held by picketers at a military funeral were of public concern. In this case, the court seems to reason that, if the public is concerned with it, it is of public concern.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that punishment for the publication of truthful statements regarding matters of public concern is improper absent vital state interests. Injunctions barring such speech before it is published are even harder to come by.
The court also dismissed Arenas’ trademark claims, finding that “No one would confuse Arenas with a basketball wife”. The show’s producers also filed a successful anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion.
This may not be the last time “Agent Zero’s” now-erased Twitter account comes up in court. After the teammate involved in the highly publicized locker room gun-wielding incident was charged with a murder, Arenas seemed to invite a subpoena by reportedly tweeting “I really wanna say sumthing but I wont becuz theirs a dead woman involved”.