Silver says NBA encouraging 76ers to resolve Twitter probe
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Adam Silver has encouraged the Philadelphia 76ers to both quickly and thoroughly resolve the investigation into whether team president Bryan Colangelo used Twitter inappropriately, a story that the NBA commissioner acknowledged was not one he wants to be thinking about during the league’s title series.
Silver, speaking Thursday before Game 1 of the Cleveland-Golden State matchup at the NBA Finals news conference, said he has talked with 76ers officials after the story about five Twitter accounts and how they were used was broken by The Ringer earlier this week.
“Here we are, Game 1 of the finals, it’s not necessarily something that we want to be talking about,” Silver said. “But it’s the reality of this league. And so I have no information beyond that, other than that investigation is underway.”
The 76ers retained an independent law firm to determine whether Colangelo used the Twitter accounts. The situation could overshadow Philadelphia’s efforts this summer to land any of the top players who will be free agents — a list that includes LeBron James, who’s appearing in the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive year.
Among the targets of harsh or critical comments on those Twitter accounts: Philadelphia players Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri and former Sixers players Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Embiid has said he does not believe that Colangelo wrote the tweets, dismissing the story as “insane.”
Colangelo has acknowledged using one of the accounts to monitor NBA happenings.
“Let’s find out what’s going on,” Silver said. “We have to separate the chatter and sort of what either fans or frankly the media are saying from the facts. The first thing we have to do here is determine what the actual facts are in this circumstance.”
Silver touched on many other topics in his annual address, including:
There will be wagering on Game 3 of the NBA Finals, at least in Delaware casinos.
That state’s officials have announced that full-scale sports betting will begin there at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday , one day before the series between Golden State and Cleveland shifts to the Cavaliers’ home floor.
Delaware is the first state to take advantage of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that now permits states to allow sports wagering. Delaware has been permitted to offer parlay wagers on NFL games since 2009, and has had sports betting legislation on its books for nearly a decade. Other states are trying to follow suit quickly.
The NBA has told states it is seeking a 1 percent cut of betting, which it is calling an “integrity fee” to help offset the costs of enforcement incurred by the league office and also to serve as a royalty.
“The real issue as we move to new jurisdictions that are legalizing sports betting is access to information,” Silver said. “That’s one of the things we have sought in model legislation ... and so what we can do is going to depend in large part on the quality of the information we can get from these states.”
Silver said the NBA game is the league’s “intellectual property, and we think we should be compensated for it.”
Silver has seen the footage of police using a Taser on Milwaukee guard Sterling Brown during an incident outside a Walgreens store in January, one that started over a parking violation.
“I saw the video for the first time when the public saw it,” Silver said. “It’s horrific. For any of us, regardless of the fact that he’s an NBA player, it was difficult to watch. It’s painful.”
An officer approached Brown for illegal parking, called for backup and six squads responded. Silver said has also had conversations with the player’s father, Chris Brown, a Chicago police officer for many years.
“It’s a reality in our country right now that there’s a disconnect often between young people of color especially and police officers — incidentally black and white,” Silver said. “And one of the things the league has undertaken, led in many ways by our players and by our leading players, has been defined ways to build bridges in communities to create dialogue directly between young people and police officers.”
Silver said some NBA teams have had meetings with police in various communities, trying to improve relations.
Silver said there are no plans for expansion, though lauded the success of the NHL’s first-year Vegas Golden Knights — who are in the Stanley Cup final against the Washington Capitals.
He also congratulated Ted Leonsis, who owns both the Capitals and the NBA’s Wizards.
“Invariably, it’s only natural for any business to grow and expand at some point,” Silver said.
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