If you went to bed last night thinking that it’s a shame that Kelly Oubre Jr. was injured in a hit-and-run accident while walking alone in Philly, you may have been confused this morning to see much of X (formerly Twitter) losing its collective mind and suggesting Oubre Jr. faked the crash, presumably to get out of playing for the 76ers? James Harden is the Clippers’ problem now.
Let’s recap. Here’s how the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the hit-and-run incident:
“Kelly Oubre Jr.’s rib fracture likely will keep him from playing for the 76ers for at least a month, trauma specialists say.”
“Oubre, 27, was struck by a motorist 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 night.”
“Oubre also suffered injuries to his hip and right leg, and is expected to miss “significant” playing time.” That’s all well and good, get well soon, Kelly.
Enter TMZ, never one to let sleeping dogs lie, who somehow obtained the Ring doorbell footage of Oubre entering his apartment on Saturday night, walking upright (though he does look to be hunched over and in pain), while trying to navigate a bike through the front door of his apartment. If you’re wondering how, exactly, TMZ got a hold of video from Oubre’s Ring camera, you’re not alone. In 2022, Ring admitted that it routinely turns over camera footage to police without user consent or a warrant, so it’s entirely possible someone in law enforcement leaked the footage, but that’s just speculation. All of this led internet sleuths to wonder why Oubre had a bike with him if he was walking home when he got hit.
What really seemed to send conspiracy theorists over the edge, though, was the Philadelphia police saying that they had no video evidence of the alleged hit-and-run, though they did report that a silver car was reported speeding away from the scene. “We do not have any 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 this time we do not have any evidence to show of a hit and run.” The police were quick to add, though, that they were not accusing Oubre of fabricating the incident.
So let’s consider what we know. Oubre told police he was walking home in City Center when he was struck by the driver’s side mirror on a passing car. Is it possible that Oubre was actually walking his bike and something was lost in translation between the time he told it to 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’s not necessarily uncommon that an auto incident isn’t caught on video. It’s possible it took place in a blind spot of a local business security cam or that Oubre was simply wrong about the time or location of the crash. Being hit by a car seems like one of those things that can leave you fuzzy on the details for a while afterward, and Oubre certainly seems to be that upon returning home. Of course, it’s always possible that Oubre got injured elsewhere and concocted the whole thing 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 entire thing up. That’s true in any case that’s not caught on video, which is a significant portion of incidents involving police. But as of right now, there’s nothing that justifies the number of people calling Oubre “Kelly Smollett” on social media.
The 76ers, meanwhile, are standing 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 believe him at his word. He’s one of our players and we’re going to stand behind him. And so am I. … I don’t have any reason not to believe him.”
So far, neither do the rest of us.