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NBA Vet Caught, Busted, Fined for Scrolling Through Phone During Playoff Loss

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In his 14th NBA season, Amir Johnson is the most experienced member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

He played a bit role during the regular season, but the team relies on him for veteran leadership and to mentor young stars like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

However, Johnson looked like anything but a sage veteran when he violated the NBA rule book by having his cell phone on the 76ers bench during their Game 1 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

With the Sixers down by 16 points late in the fourth quarter, cameras caught Johnson not only with his phone on the bench, but clearly showing Embiid something on the phone.

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As ESPN reports, the NBA Operations Manual bans the use of cell phones on the bench during games. In the “Use of Technology” section, it says violations will result in substantial fines and/or suspensions.

The Sixers announced they fined Johnson and after the game he did not address the media but did issue a statement apologizing for his actions.

Do you think Amir Johnson will be suspended for having a phone on the bench?

“I take full responsibility and will accept the consequences of my actions,” Johnson said, per ESPN. “I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers organization and the fans for the distraction this has caused.”

Shortly after cameras caught Johnson and Embiid looking at the phone, cameras also showed Johnson heading back to the locker room with about five minutes left in the game.

One can assume it was to return the phone to his locker as Johnson then rejoined the bench for the last two minutes of the game.

Embiid doesn’t seem to be facing any discipline as all he did was look down at the phone. The star center for the 76ers did elaborate on why Johnson had peered at his phone mid-game.

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“I just looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick, and he was checking on her,” Embiid said.

Some jumped to Johnson’s defense on Twitter, assuming Embiid was telling the truth.

Coach Brett Brown just learned about Johnson looking at the phone while walking to the post game press conference.

“First, it’s completely unacceptable, and second, we will deal with it internally, I’m sure very soon. It’s not something we are and certainly don’t condone,” said Brown.

Johnson was not active for the game while Embiid played after missing five of the last seven regular season games. He had 22 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and four assists.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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