Johnson and teammate Joel Embiid appeared to be looking at a text message on Johnson’s phone on the bench.
This is not a good look for a team that was losing at home in the first round of the playoffs.
The 76ers have fined Amir Johnson an undisclosed amount for looking at his phone in the fourth quarter of Philadelphia’s loss to the Nets in Game 1 of their first-round series.
Joel Embiid was caught along with Johnson looking at what appeared to be Johnson’s phone on the bench.
The pair appeared to be looking at a text message. The 76ers were losing to the Nets at home at the time, so this is not an ideal thing to have caught on camera.
Amir Johnson and Embiid Laughing About Text Message While Down pic.twitter.com/rXvh156Xyc
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 13, 2019
76ers general manager Elton Brand issued a statement saying the organization has fined Johnson for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Brand said he had addressed the situation with Johnson, “and he understands why his actions were unacceptable. We are moving forward together with our focus now on Game 2.”
Embiid said Johnson was just checking on his sick daughter, according to a report from The Athletic.
Embiid says that Amir Johnson’s daughter was sick, and he was checking in on her during the game.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) April 13, 2019
Johnson later issued a statement apologizing.
“I apologize for having my phone on the bench in today’s game,” the statement read. “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.”
After the contest, 76ers coach Brett Brown commented on the situation, telling reporters “it’s completely unacceptable.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown on Joel Embiid & Amir Johnson looking at cell phone on bench during Game 1 loss to Nets: “It’s completely unacceptable and we will deal with it internally, very soon. It’s not something we are and certainly don’t condone.” pic.twitter.com/oau1n7qj5G
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 13, 2019
“It’s completely unacceptable and we will deal with it internally, very soon,” Brown said. But it appeared he had not yet spoken to Embiid or Johnson about the situation.
Johnson was inactive for the game. Embiid was doubtful coming into the game with a knee injury, but he ultimately started and played.
He had some good moments (22 points and 15 rebounds), but Philadelphia was minus-17 with him on the floor, so he clearly wasn’t perfect which means he probably could have been using his time better than looking at a phone.
We’ll see what Jimmy Butler — who called his Timberwolves teammates “soft” before he was traded to the 76ers — has to say if he is asked about this moment.