If you went to bed last night thinking that it was a shame that the 76ers Kelly Oubre Jr. Injured in a hit-and-run accident on Saturday while walking alone in Philly, you may have been confused this morning to see much of X (formerly Twitter) lose its collective mind and suggest that the Oubre Jr. faked the accident, presumably not to play for the 76ers? Which would have been a plausible scenario in many other seasons, but Philly is currently 7-3 and Oubre didn’t join the team until late September. And anyway, James Harden is now the Clippers’ problem.
Will Kelly Oubre Jr. ‘s hit-and-run accident void his contract?
Let’s resume. Here’s how the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the hit-and-run incident:
Kelly Oubre Jr. ‘s rib fracture will likely keep him from playing for the 76ers for at least a month, trauma specialists say.
Oubre, 27, was hit by a motorist on Saturday night while walking near his home in Center City, according to an initial police report. A Philadelphia Fire Department ambulance crew took him to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was treated and released later that evening.”
Oubre also suffered injuries to his hip and right leg and is expected to miss “significant” playing time.
It’s all well and good, get well soon, Kelly.
Enter TMZ, never one to let sleeping dogs lie, who somehow got hold of the Ring doorbell footage of Oubre walking into his apartment on Saturday night, walking upright (though he looks like he’s hunched over and in pain), while trying to navigate a bike through the front through of his apartment. You can hear Oubre grunt as he opens the front door, and immediately tells someone in the apartment (presumably his wife, Shylynnitaa) “I got hit by a car.”
If you’re wondering how exactly, TMZ obtained video from Oubre’s Ring cam, you are not alone. In 2022, Ring allowed that it routinely turns over camera footage to the police without user consent or a warrant, so it’s entirely possible that someone in law enforcement leaked the footage, but that’s just speculation. All of this, of course, made Internet sleuths wonder why Oubre had a bike with him if he was walking home when he was hit.
What seemed to send conspiracy theorists over the edge, however, was that Philadelphia police said they had no video evidence of the alleged hit-and-run, although they did report a silver car was reported from the scene chase away “We have no video evidence or images showing a collision at the reported location,” Philly PD told a local news station. “Our investigators have been in that area and at the moment we have no evidence to show of a hit and run.” The police were quick to addhowever, that they did not accuse Oubre of fabricating the incident.
So let’s look at what we know. Oubre told police he was walking home downtown when he was struck by the driver’s side mirror of a passing car. Is it possible that Oubre was actually walking his bike and something got lost in translation between the time he told the police and the time the police relayed it to the media? Oubre certainly looks like he could have a broken rib when he enters his home on the Ring footage.
Second, it is not necessarily unusual for a car incident not to be caught on video. It is possible that it occurred in a blind spot of a local business security camera or that Oubre was simply wrong about the time or place of the accident. Getting hit by a car seems like one of those things that can leave you confused about the details for a while afterward, and Oubre certainly seems to be when you get back home. Of course, it’s always possible that Oubre was injured elsewhere and made the whole thing up to avoid problems with his contract (he’s currently on a one-year, veteran’s minimum free-agent deal worth $2.9 million), or he could have made the whole thing up. This is true in any case that is not caught on video, which is a significant proportion of the incidents involving the police. But right now, there’s nothing that justifies the number of people calling Oubre “Kelly Smollett” on social media.
The 76ers, meanwhile, stand by their guy. Philly head coach Nick Nurse told the AP, “I don’t think it’s very fair to him to say that he made up some story. I just don’t. I’m going to take him at his word. He is one of our players and we will stand behind him. And I’m also… I have no reason not to believe him.”
So far neither have the rest of us.