The Alt-Right’s New Pizzagate Conspiracy? An NBA Player’s Knee
Right-wing Reddit enthusiasts have a new conspiracy: that a Mavericks basketball player was sidelined not for a knee injury, but for supporting an investigation into Pizzagate.
In the wake of Pizzagate, the internet’s largest community of Donald Trump supporters have begun investigating a new vast, globalist conspiracy: an NBA center’s right knee.
The top post on Reddit’s r/The_Donald Friday claims that “After He Took To Twitter To Help Expose Pizzag*te, (Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut) Was Sidelined For 11 Games With a Mysterious ‘Injury.’” It then implored users to upvote the NBA player’s photo to “Make This The Top Google Search Result For ‘Hero’” because “Bogut Risked His Career To Help Expose The Truth.” The post, written by user WhiteGenocideXLV, had over 8,000 upvotes at press time.
The submission neglected to mention that Bogut played 22 minutes in the Mavericks’ 12-point win against the Lakers a few hours before it was posted.
Bogut’s injury was a high-profile one for the struggling Mavericks. On December 5, Bogut was getting into position for a rebound when Charlotte Hornets center Roy Hibbert fell directly onto Bogut’s right knee. A video of the injury can be seen below. Bogut immediately limped back to the locker room with the help of a trainer.
The injury is not so mysterious to SBNation Mavericks beat writer Tim Cato.
“Andrew Bogut suffered a right knee injury. He’s been missing time. It wasn’t a mysterious injury. Somebody fell on his leg. He limped back to the locker room,” said Cato, who is also the editor of MavsMoneyball. “They said he’d be out a couple weeks. He’s been out a couple weeks. Honestly, when I first saw it, I thought he’d be out a lot longer.”
The conspiracy stems from Bogut’s tepid public support of investigating Pizzagate, a conspiracy theory that began on alt-right subreddits and 4chan, and which claims there is a global child sex ring based out of the basement of a Washington D.C. pizza shop that has no basement. The repeatedly debunked claims are entirely founded on perceived “codewords” in Hillary Clinton campaign advisor John Podesta’s leaked emails.
R/The_Donald is one of the primary drivers of Pizzagate, a conspiracy which led citizen Edgar M. Welch to “investigate” the D.C. pizzeria Comet Pizza with a gun. Posts on both r/The_Donald and r/Conspiracy led to the creation of r/Pizzagate, a splinter subreddit that was banned by Reddit after personal information was posted involving people affiliated with the pizza shop.
On November 24th, Bogut tweeted “If only 1 percent of this #pizzagate scandal is true, all people involved deserve life in prison (or worse). #sick.” He later laughed off a Snopes debunking of the conspiracy. He then deleted some of the tweets.
Bogut played six more games before suffering the knee injury against Charlotte.
Still, r/The_Donald commenters are wary, since Bogut isn’t expected to play in tonight’s game, the second half of a back-to-back, and on a day where the team will travel from Dallas to Oakland.
“It’s the second night of the back-to-back, which is when they’ve been typically resting him and other vets—even before the injury. So it’s definitely not an aberration,” said Cato.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during her presidential run, but has since been seen having coffee with Trump campaign and administration advisor Steve Bannon.
Bogut, who is originally from Australia and plays on its national team, has appeared on rightwing podcasts, like Louder with Crowder, and frequently posts about far-rightwing topics on his Twitter account.
“It seems the accounts that are offended by my following of all political demographics are SJW’s,” he tweeted in October, referring to “social justice warriors,” or particularly vocal liberal activists. “Any good SJW accounts out there? #oxymoron.”
Now, Bogut finds himself—or at least his knee—at the center of one of his followers’ conspiracies.
“It is on the dumber side of the stuff I’ve heard from (r/The_Donald),” said Cato. “But it is r/The_Donald. It is very on-brand for them.”