The suit seeks more than $25,000 in damages after O’Neal posted an Instagram picture of Jahmel Binion, which he posted last summer.
Binion, 23, has ectodermal dysplasia, a rare disorder that produces hair, teeth, nail, sweat glands and face abnormalities. It also prevents him from sweating and can lead to heat stroke.
The lawsuit says that O’Neal, Burke and rap artist Waka Flocka, who was also named in the suit, are guilty of invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and general negligence. It says the picture was seen by 8.4 million people around the world.
Burke, O'Neal and Waka Flocka each offered their apologizes on Twitter.
“The defendants’ communications clearly implied that the plaintiff was an appropriate object of mockery, ridicule and shame,” the lawsuit says. “The defendants’ communications were false because the plaintiff’s medical condition is not an appropriate reason for mockery, ridicule and shame."
GALLERY: SPORTS FIGURES WHO GOT IN TROUBLE ON TWITTER
Mendenhall is at the center of controversy over his remarks concerning the death of Osama Bin Laden: "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..." He also added, "We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style" and then said, "I'm not convinced he was even behind the attacks we have really seen no evidence to prove it other than the gov telling us." The running back's comments irked Steelers team owner Art Rooney II, who issued this statement in response to Mendenhall: "I have not spoken with Rashard so it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments," Rooney said. "The entire Steelers organization is very proud of the job our military personnel have done and we can only hope this leads to our troops coming home soon." Who would you add to the list? Send suggestions to email@example.com.
Never one to follow the rules, Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco drew a $25,000 fine in 2010 for violating the NFL’s ban on social media from 90 minutes before a game until after postgame interviews are complete. Just before kickoff in a preseason game against Philadelphia, he wrote " Just talk with Kelly Washington , Desean Jackson, Geoff Pope, Hank Baskett and I caught a ball from Mike Vick, I love prw-game warm up." And during the game, he commented on a hard first-half hit he took. "Man Im sick of getting hit like that , its the damn preseason s**t! 1day I'm gone jump up and start throwing hay makers , #Tylenolplease ."
For all the good Twitter has brought, it's also tripped up several sports figures. Here's a look at some who have let the tweets go a little too far, beginning with the one-time prodigy Young, who wrote, "Fu-- USTA!! Their full of sh--! They have screwed me for the last time!'" after a come-from-ahead loss to 176th-ranked Tim Smyczek in a USTA playoff for a wild card into the 2011 French Open main draw.
Carlton Cole was fined 20,000 pounds ($32,790) for Twitter comments made during England's friendly against Ghana. The West Ham United striker said of Wembley Stadium "Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha ... The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face w/ the St. George's flag!"
The Liverpol winger was fined 10,000 pounds by the English Football Association for taking out his frustration on referee Howard Webb following a 1-0 loss to Manchester United. He first posted a digitally altered picture of Webb wearing a Manchester United jersey then said, "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH (shaking my head)."
The longtime Kansas City running back wrote, ''My father played for the coach from 'rememeber the titans.' Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn.'' Those words were followed by subsequent tweets in which he insulted a fan and used gay slurs led to a fine and suspension. But the Chiefs weren't finished. They released the running back, figuring they'd had enough.
Cuban was the first person to be fined by a sports league for his comments on Twitter when the NBA forced him to hand over $25,000. His offense? Complaining about the refs in this tweet: ''How do they not call a tech on JR Smith for coming off the bench to taunt our player on the ground?''
NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin was fined a reported $50,000 for comments NASCAR officials deemed to be too critical of the sport. Hamlin believes the remarks were some he made in a twitter conversation following a Nationwide race in Chicago. "i mean when a guy is in the wall.. and of course people wanna see a caution. Not a fake one tho."
Parker McLachlin was the first golfer to tweet during a PGA event, breaking league rules and warranting a phone call from upset Tour Executive VP Rick George. ''Just made birdie on 4. Waiting on 5th tee. First tweet during a tourney round. Don't want to get too used to this!''
Kiffin claims an assistant wrote this tweet for his account, but nonetheless, the Vols were forced to report themselves to the NCAA for mentioning an unsigned recruit by name: ''It's a beautiful day in Knoxville, Tennessee today. I was so exited to hear that J.C. Copeland committed to play for the Vols today!''
While he was across the country resting up for a World Cup game, the Dynamo player was fined $500 by MLS for this tweet: ''Ref in seattle just cheated the dynamo. What a joke. Not even close. Ref is a cheat''
In August, the Chargers fined cornerback Antonio Cromartie $2,500 for complaining about his food at training camp. Here's the tweet that caused all of the commotion: ''Man we have 2 have the most nasty food of any team. Damn can we upgrade 4 str8 years the same ish maybe that's y we can't we the SB we need.''
When his coach was late for a team meeting, linebacker Marlon Williams asked Twitternation why he had showed up at all: ''Wondering why I'm still in this meeting room when the head coach can't even be on time to his meeting'' Coach Mike Leach suspended Williams for the comment and banned his students from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace during sports related events.
Michael Beasley was so excited to get a new tattoo that he shared it with his followers on Twitter. However, there was a minor problem with that decision: it fueled reports that in the background of the picture there appeared to be two small bags of marijuana on a table.
Villanueva tweeted during halftime of a Bucks-Celtics game that he needed to step up in order for his team to win. While Villanueva did turn the game around, scoring a team-high 19 points, coach Scott Skiles banned Bucks players from Tweeting during games. ''In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.''
Before the rest of the world knew, Love tweeted that coach Kevin McHale had been fired: ''Today is a sad day ... Kevin McHale will NOT be back as head coach this season.'' And how did he respond when told that he had released inside information? ''P.S. I am not a breaking news guy... I had no idea no one knew. I'll tell them I stayed at a holiday inn express last night. Always works....''
Altidore was relegated to bench duty during his club season last October with Hull City after showing up late for pregame preparation. He then took to his Twitter account and apologized to the Hull fans: "Apologize to all of you," he wrote. "I showed up late. Made a big mistake. I'm very, very sorry." That drew coach Phil Brown's ire: "That for me is information that stays in house," he said. "The reason he wasn't on the bench was our business."
Fifteen minutes after the Bucks defeated the Blazers in double overtime last December, Jennings tweeted his elation at his team getting back to .500. "Back to 500. Yess!!!," he wrote. "'500' means where doing good. Way to Play Hard Guys." But Jennings violated an NBA rule that bans tweeting in games and until players have fulfilled media requirements. The NBA fined him $7,500 as a result, and Jennings questioned the rule in response, noting that he was only tweeting his excitement over a victory. "I understand I got fined, but 7,500?" he wrote. "For being happy over a win, you would of thought I said something bad. I mean it was a big win for us."
- Scooby Axson