Brett Brown: Jahlil Okafor didn’t tell me full details of fight, which second video showed

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Jahlil Okafor said he told 76ers coach Brett Brown about his Boston fight before video of it emerged.

In many circles, the rookie center received praised for being so forthright.

The 76ers certainly stood by him, even as more reports – of another altercation, high-speed driving and a fake I.D. – tarnished Okafor’s image.

But three games after the Boston fight, Philadelphia finally suspended Okafor.

What changed?

It sure seems it was the second video of Boston fighting.

Brown:

He actually told me what had happened. The details, the further details that came out, surprised me, surprised us. He told us sketchy that he was in a situation that he regretted. As far as the play-by-play of what happened, he did not go into that.

Today we learned more, and the thing I do say is when I spent time with Jahlil in his room today, he is ashamed. He’s embarrassed, and this has caught him off guard. And as I’ve said, I’m a parent of a 19-year-old, too.  And you walk the line of – especially in my role – of showing tough love and helping him. But he has made a mistake, and nobody is denying it. Nobody is hiding from it. We own it.

In the conversation that I had with Jahlil when he pulled me up and said this is the situation, I got in a fight and went into the evening, this news that came out today wasn’t a part of that. But he shared generically, holistically, it wasn’t a good night for him that night.

For either side, there’s a forgiving potential version of events. Maybe Okafor didn’t believe sharing every detail of events was important. Maybe the 76ers believed he was telling the whole truth.

But there are strategic possibilities, too.

Okafor might have gambled that the team would never learn just how brutal the fight was. If that was his play, he obviously lost that bet with the second video.

And why didn’t the 76ers press for details if he gave just a vague account? Did they fear answers they didn’t want to hear? Plausible deniability can be an asset. If that was their goal, the second video ruined it. Now, we all know more details.

One or both sides handled this poorly. I don’t know whether it’s due to naiveté or guile, but it made a bad situation worse for everyone involved.

If the 76ers had a fuller account of that night immediately – especially if from Okafor himself – the news cycle on this would’ve ended much sooner.

Instead, it drags on.