SBD/June 25, 2013/Franchises

76ers Take Time In Denying Firing Of CEO Adam Aron, Fueling Speculation

Sixers execs waited about seven hours before denying the report of Aron's firing
The 76ers last night issued a statement that CEO Adam Aron was still a member of the team's front office, but they "waited hours before denying" multiple media reports that claimed Aron had been let go, according to Keith Pompey of PHILLY.com (6/25). CSNPHILLY.com's John Gonzalez writes there "might be a few reasons" for the Sixers waiting to deny Aron's firing, but the fact that the team "didn't move swiftly to refute the rumors ultimately helped fuel the belief that Aron had been ousted." Sources not long after the initial reports went out would not "confirm that Aron was out -- but they didn’t initially deny it, either." A Sixers spokesperson around 8:45pm ET -- about seven hours after the initial report -- said that the team "had not fired Aron." Gonzalez: "That's a pretty significant delay for a matter of this magnitude." Meanwhile, the Sixers "suddenly seem like an organization that wants everything to remain secret." Since hiring President of Basketball Operations & GM Sam Hinkie, the Sixers have "gone radio silent." Hinkie has been "a ghost" and Majority Owner Josh Harris "hasn’t talked." Even Aron -- normally a "prolific tweeter with a big public profile -- has faded into the background." The Sixers' "cagey approach becomes something else entirely when applied to a situation where people believe one of the minority owners has been fired as the team’s CEO." That is a scenario that "demands a quick reply and immediate transparency." Before Hinkie was hired, the "hot rumor" had Sixers co-Owner David Heller "assuming some of Aron’s duties." That was followed by a N.Y. Daily News report last week that former MSG President Scott O’Neil "visited with the Sixers and was close to landing a front office position." Sixers execs "should have known" questions would surface regarding Aron's future with the team and they "should have braced for it." They also "should have acted fast to deny the reports once they materialized" (CSNPHILLY.com, 6/25).
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