Sixers Take Disciplinary Action Over Cell Phone Incident

6:35pm: The Sixers have fined Johnson for using his cell phone on the sidelines, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. “I apologize for having my phone on the bench in today’s game,” Johnson said in a statement tweeted by the team. “I take full responsibility and will accept the consequences of my actions. I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers organization and the fans for the distraction this has caused.”

5:10pm: Today’s playoff loss to the Nets was punctuated by an embarrassing incident late in the game in which Sixers players Amir Johnson and Joel Embiid were caught looking at Johnson’s cell phone while on the bench. Coach Brett Brown criticized both players for their actions and promised the situation would be handled, tweets Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

“It’s completely unacceptable and we will deal with it internally, very soon,” Brown said in his post-game press conference. “It’s not something we are and certainly don’t condone.”

Using a cell phone from the bench violates the NBA’s Operations Manual, points out ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Both players are facing substantial fines and possible suspensions. Johnson was inactive today, while Embiid, who has been bothered by knee pain, decided to play shortly before the game began.

Embiid explained that they were using the phone to get an update on the health of Johnson’s daughter (Twitter link). “I looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on his daughter,” he told reporters.

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25 thoughts on “Sixers Take Disciplinary Action Over Cell Phone Incident

  1. marshmallowman

    not a big deal. they’re going to get hammered for this. this has zero to do with why they lost today

  2. Connorsoxfan

    The optics are a lot worse than the actual situation. If Johnson’s story is true, the team punishing anyone for this is insane. It’s not difficult for the team to check his story. Ask to see his texts from today. If he’s not lying, he shouldn’t have a problem with that and his story would be corroborated. There should be no punishment if that’s the case. The team taking this angle publicly does nothing to help. Downplay it and stick with the sick child story, and the whole thing would completely blow over

    • jump shot

      Regardless, no reason for having the phone – let alone alone checking it – while on the bench. Can either leave it in the lockerroom and check it at halftime for updates, or, if a situation is that dire or urgent, either watch the game from the lockerroom with your phone in your hand or give the phone to a team attendant and have them alert you if there is an emergency. Having the phone on the bench – and checking it – is irresponsible and unprofessional.

      • Connorsoxfan

        Giving it to a team attendant would’ve been the ideal course of action, but is it seriously worth a fine and a PR nightmare? Stand by the player and give him a slap on the wrist, “don’t do it again” kind of thing, and it would have the same effect.

        • jump shot

          They took what was, in my opinion (and theirs), appropriate action. Now they move on.

    • hiflew

      Sticking with the sick child story is going to be hard to do since Embiid was laughing while looking at the phone. I’d rather be known as someone that broke a phone rule instead of being the guy laughing at a sick child.

  3. Strike Four

    No idea why the media is acting like Embiid killed a guy. The pomposity of all these babies crying over this is one of the worst things about pro sports. These are people like you and me, and I dont care one bit if players look at their phones while on the bench – they could be learning about how to beat their opponents!

    • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

      Which is, I bet, one of the biggest reasons it’s strictly against NBA rules…

      • Strike Four

        So much pearl clutching being done over this. Watch the video, he literally looked at a text message and people are acting like he’s Pete Rose. Everyone needs to grow tf up.

        • apaca1ypse

          Yeah. It’s not like he could possibly look at current betting odds over his phone and affect the final score by… I don’t know, point shaving or something like that. That’s not a possibility.

          • CubsHope5

            They were medium sized favorites at home losing by double digits… I get the point you are trying to make it but it has no relevance to this game situation

            • x%sure

              True, but it applies to the rule existing. And then if you don’t enforce it, it’s not much of a rule.

  4. Richard Hangslow

    This is the media in 2019. Create stories where there is none

    • hiflew

      There is a huge story here. It is against the NBA rules to have a cell phone on the bench. It’s not just about the perception. Suspensions are possible because of this. Although I have a feeling that Johnson will be taking the brunt of the punishment simply because star players rarely get punished in the NBA.

      • Strike Four

        He checked a text message, its not “huge” by ANY stretch of the imagination. Its pathetic.

        • hiflew

          If he gets suspended for a game, which is possible, I think that qualifies as huge.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player have his cell out on the bench during a game. Also BBBBBRRRRRRROOOOOKKKKKKKKKLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYYNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

  5. Freddie Morales

    Johnson wasn’t even active. Who cares if he was on his phone. Especially checking on his sick daughter. What good parent wouldn’t do that?

    • hiflew

      If his daughter is that sick, then why wasn’t he with her? The Sixers would have given him a pass, especially since he was inactive.

      But I honestly don’t believe that anyway. It may be true, but you could tell by the body language they were not checking on a sick child. Embiid was laughing while looking at it. Unless he is a sociopath happy about a child’s illness, I’m guessing they were doing something else.

  6. x%sure

    Maybe they were watching instructional videos on defending the picknroll.

    The Sixers are weird at the guard position, and the Nets are loaded there.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      Man my boy Caris was cooking these fools. What a fun game to watch. Nets in 4.

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