'Hang themselves': Aussie basketball rocked by former coach's horrific texts

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

The Adelaide 36ers are investigating shocking claims from co-captain Kevin White levelled at the club’s former coach Joey Wright.

Wright, a three-time NBL coach of the year, split with the 36ers on Wednesday - ending a seven-year tenure in what the club described as a mutual decision.

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On Friday, White took to social media with some disturbing claims about what went down during Wright’s time at the club.

Joey Wright coaching the Adelaide 36ers against Cairns Taipans. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

“I’ve been told to shut my mouth & it will be handled for weeks,” White wrote on Twitter in a lengthy tirade.

“Well it’s now getting out of hand and I won’t stand for my teammates getting belted in the media.”

Most concerning was a screenshot of a message that Wright sent to the team’s high performance manager after being informed that a few players had scored poorly on a ‘wellness’ test.

The test was presumably conducted to check on the players and their mental health.

Wright replied: “F*** all of them. Hopefully it gets low enough for them to hang themselves.”

“They have been all of the issues. They probably feel low because they can’t ruin anymore people’s lives for at least 3 months.”

The messages Joey Wright allegedly sent. Image: Supplied

White also wrote on Twitter: “WOULD YOU PLAY FOR THIS GUY??? Would you let your kids play for this guy?”

“For the sake of mine and my teammates’ mental health this needs to be exposed because it is not and should not be acceptable!”

Wright later admitted to sending the messages, telling SEN Radio: “It was absolutely wrong to say.”

However he then took aim at White for making them public.

“The comments that were in a private chat message between coaches is an area where coaches go to vent. We go there to say stuff,” he said.

“Players have their chat messages that if it was published it would just look disastrous. It would defame everybody. We have a chat group with coaches and players both in it.

“I could put out messages that would make every single player on that team look like an idiot. That’s just not what you do. That’s not what you do because they’re going there to vent, to crack jokes.

“Some of the stuff we say in those are just for us, and we put a disclaimer in there that this is not for public use. This is only private and it’s never to be published.”

36ers launch investigation

The 76ers and NBL responded to the allegations later on Friday, saying they were investigating White’s claims.

“The Adelaide 36ers are investigating comments made in tweets from co-captain Kevin White,” a statement read.

“The club takes the allegations seriously and will investigate further as part on an ongoing review. No further comments will be made until the conclusion of the review.”

White’s tirade came after Wright slammed a number of 36ers players after leaving the club.

“I would have loved for those guys to be a little bit more driven but we weren’t on the same page, and that’s not the club’s fault, that’s my fault and I tried everything I could to get them on the same page as everybody else,” Wright told The Advertiser.

Kevin White in action for Adelaide 36ers. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Wright parts ways with 36ers

Adelaide missed this season's play-offs for the second year in a row under the veteran American-born coach.

But the 51-year-old said he believes the 36ers are in better shape than when he joined in 2013.

“I feel like I have left the club in a better position than when I first arrived and I look forward to my next coaching challenge,” Wright said in a statement on Wednesday.

Adelaide 36ers owner Grant Kelley said the club and Wright, who coached Brisbane to the NBL championship in 2007, agreed to part ways.

“His impact on the club has been enormous,” Kelley said.

“In 2013-14, his first season in charge, he took the 36ers from bottom of the ladder to championship contenders.

“He achieved a minor premiership in 2016-17 and narrowly missed winning the NBL championship in 2017-18.”

Wright coached Brisbane from 2002-08 and also was at the helm of Gold Coast Blaze from 2009-2012.

He was named the NBL's coach of the year in 2004, 2007 and 2017, when Adelaide were beaten in the championship series.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

with AAP