Referee from UK's Elite 8 Loss Sues Website After Death Threats
An NCAA referee who received death threats following Kentucky's loss to North Carolina in the Elite 8 of last season's men's basketball championship is suing a popular website.
Referee John Higgins filed a civil suit in federal court alleging that Kentucky Sports Radio and its operators, Matt Jones and Drew Franklin, helped incite those death threats, frightening him and his family, ESPN reported.
A video showing contact information for Higgins and posted on the KSR website was partly responsible for sparking the harassment, the suit said.
"After defendants' publication of Mr. Higgins' business and contact information, as well as their encouragement and enticement to thousands of people to utilize the contact information, Weatherguard received over 3,000 phone calls during the two days after the game, of which approximately 75 percent were from Kentucky area codes," the suit said.
Higgins' business also received a flood of bogus negative online reviews, causing his Google rating to plummet. Higgins' website got more than 28,000 hits in the days after the game, and he was forced to take the company's Facebook page down.
Matt Jones, who is also an attorney, called the lawsuit frivolous.
The Higgins lawsuit against KSR is frivolous and without any legal merit whatsoever. We will defend it and expect a favorable result quickly— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) October 3, 2017
Higgins seeks $75,000 in damages.