The 76ers announced that they fined Amir Johnson for using his cell phone on the bench during Philadelphia's Game 1 loss to the Nets on Saturday.
"The 76ers organization has fined Amir Johnson for conduct detrimental to the team," GM Elton Brand said in a statement. "I have addressed the matter with Amir directly and he understands why his actions were unacceptable. We are moving forward together with our full focus now on Game 2."
"I apologize for having my phone on the bench in today's game," Johnson said in a statement. "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."
During the fourth quarter, ESPN cameras caught Joel Embiid and Johnson looking at Johnson's cell phone on Philly's bench while the Sixers were trailing by 16 points. It appeared Johnson was looking at a text message.
Embiid said after the game that Johnson was checking on his ill daughter. Neither Johnson nor Brand mentioned Johnson's daughter in their respective statements.
"I just looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on her. I just looked. But he was checking on his daughter," Embiid said.
NO WAY pic.twitter.com/JzoxlMQImF- Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) April 13, 2019
76ers coach Brett Brown said after the game he had just found out about what happened before his press conference, and although he wanted to learn more about the situation before completely judging the situation, he initially was not pleased.
"First, it's completely unacceptable. And second, we will deal with it internally I'm sure very soon," Brown said. "It is not something that we are about. I think all of us should learn a little bit more than certainly I do. But on first glance, it is not something that we are and certainly don't condone, and the club will deal with it."
The visual drew the ire of ESPN's Doris Burke.
"This is really troublesome to me. Amir Johnson is not active, but he is on the bench. That's a cell phone, and I can't definitively say, but all of us know what a text message looks like," Burke said on the broadcast. "Like, what is that thing doing out, to me?"
"You're down. That is a very bad look," Burke added.
ESPN insider and former Nets executive Bobby Marks pointed out that the use of a cell phone is a rule violation.
Use of a cell phone on the bench is a violation of the NBA Operations Manual. Violation will result in a substantial fine and/or suspension.- Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) April 13, 2019