Referee Eric Lewis Retires Amid Burner Account Investigation
The NBA announced that referee Eric Lewis will retire after 19 seasons in the league. Lewis will no longer be investigated by NBA officials for allegedly maintaining a burner account on Twitter through which he defended himself and NBA officials to fans.
“NBA referee Eric Lewis has informed the league office that he is retiring, effective immediately,” the league’s statement reads. “In light of his decision, the NBA’s investigation into social media activity has been closed.”
Lewis’ burner account, registered as @CuttliffBlair and since deleted, regularly replied to fans’ comments complaining about referees, most recently during the 2023 NBA Playoffs. His account was discovered on May 22 this year after he replied to Lakers fans claiming that he cost them games. Fans even went so far as to find photos of Lewis’ family in Celtics gear.
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This Eric Lewis ? true??? ?
— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 27, 2023
Over the course of his NBA career, Lewis officiated more than 1,000 games and was a mainstay in the postseason toward the end of his career. He was scheduled to work the 2023 NBA Finals but did not appear because of the investigation.
While referees are not forbidden from having social media accounts, they are not permitted to discuss officiating without approval from the league. Though Lewis was disguising himself as a fellow fan, the league was trying to determine if his comments broke this rule. His retirement will prevent the investigation from proceeding.
Several NBA players, like Kevin Durant, have long been suspected of having burner accounts on social media, while many other players have become increasingly direct in interacting with fans online. Grizzlies star Ja Morant missed time last season and will miss more time this season in separate suspensions for twice brandishing handguns on Instagram Live.
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