Sixers suspend Okafor after 2nd video

VIDEO: NBA TV update on Jahlil Okafor.

It’s one thing for the 76ers to accept the barbs and criticisms for the execution of “the process.”

But in order for the extreme makeover plan of rebuilding the franchise to work, it has to be constructed on a solid foundation and that’s where the recent escapades of 19-year-old rookie Jahlil Okafor put everything on shaky ground.

With the release by TMZ of another video showing Okafor in a second fight early on Thanksgiving morning in Boston and also reports of earlier incidents in Philadelphia, the team decided it was time for more than a scolding. The Sixers suspended Okafor for two games, according to a statement released by the club:

We have made the determination to suspend Jahlil Okafor for two games, effective immediately.

Jahlil is a very important part of our organization and our future.  While we are disappointed with his recent actions, we have faith in him as a valued member of the Sixers. We will provide the necessary resources to support him on his journey and will do our part to help him succeed both on and off the court.

Okafor appeared and sounded properly contrite and remorseful after the first video turned up last week. He said it was a case of bad judgment and it would not happen again.

However, from all the reports that have surfaced since the initial apology, it would seem that it was the continuation of horrible judgment and just plain poor behavior by Okafor for several months.

The Sixers had previously said they were assigning a security guard to accompany Okafor at all times, but had held back on a punishment. Now though the club is likely looking at a bigger picture, one has become a huge public relations black eye. As the team continues to move ahead with a roster filled with very young players — and plans to add more — the image of a loss of control by their top rookie and systemic collapse from within the locker room made it time for the suspension.

13 Comments

  1. matt crowley says:

    If Colangelo dosen’t give Kobe a roster spot he should be immediately fired and not be allowed to be at any of the games practice or not. Kobe’s career speaks enough to give him the spot on the team. He is every bit as good as michael jordan was when he played on the olimpic team.

  2. Martin Brown says:

    So now you’re showing and telling our professional athletes that they are unable to protect ones self in no way, shape, fashion or form. This could all be because of the color of his skin… Now let’s get back to the Tom Brady ordeal! No suspension or punishment of no kind. America, oh what a shame!

  3. Raptor4Life says:

    It is going to take much more than a two game suspension to “fix” this.
    The root of this problem runs deep.

    “At 13, he was caught driving a car he and some other boys had stolen. Later, he hustled drugs. He bounced around to five high schools in three years, mostly because he kept getting expelled for fighting. At one point he lived in a group home for troubled kids. He was kicked off the Westark team for using a stolen credit card, kicked off at Carl Albert for getting into a fight with a neighbor, and kicked off at West Texas A&M after only one game for disobeying the coach.”

    This is Jahlil’s father described above, in an article in the January 2014 issue of Chicago Magazine. Jahlil’s mother died when he was 9 years old. And a single year in the Duke basketball “puppy mill” program does not transform any teenager into an overnight adult.
    He is an amazing talent, I hope he can get his head on straight before it is too late and he has thrown it all away….

  4. Bill says:

    If this kid wants to be the next Tim Duncan, he should start by emulating the behavior.

  5. 421 says:

    What an idiot. I feel bad for the sixers drafting him, the franchise has got enough problems on its own.

  6. Afro Smash says:

    Why are people saying ‘he’s only 19’? 19 is more than old enough to be responsible for your own actions and know that going round and getting in fights isn’t right. Hopefully this suspension opens his eyes and he starts to mature a bit.

  7. Gillsy says:

    There coach put it best when he said that if you put a bunch of young guys together and expect that there won’t be any problems. You are very very nieve.

  8. Oh come on, Its fine. He’s just 19

  9. Greatness says:

    Come on, he should be smart enough to know not to do this kind of stuff. Its just sad.

  10. My son is 19. At that age, they are clueless. What do you expect?

  11. Jahlil, come on young blood! Oh well, he’s definitely learned from here on out.

  12. Baroque says:

    That is a consequence of not having a fair complement of veterans among the squad. The young guys do not know how to carry themselves and be professionals. The Chuckster always talk about the input of Moses Malone in his life when he was a rookie in Philly. Moses and the other veterans showed him how to behave like a professional….despite his own rambunctious moments. The Philadelphia front office and organization have created and contributed significantly to this debacle by its youth only policy. These youths need to be mentored and the organization has to accept the black eye it has received. You reap what you sow…..sooner or later…but there is time to reconsider before the situation deteriorates. Bring some solid vets into the locker room.

    • Arky says:

      I’m sure the lack of vets isnt helping the kids develop (I’ve seen that in a half dozen sports with drafts where a team thinks it is clever to rebuild entirely around young, cheap talent, and it almost never works unless they get freakily lucky), but in this case does Okafor really need an older player just to tell him not to punch people outside bars?