It’s a show about people who fall in love online, only to learn that the person they had been in a relationship with is not actually who they claim to be. The person taking the identity of another person for one reason or another is known as a catfish, and they can apparently get to anyone: even an NBA star like Chris Andersen, aka Birdman.
You may have heard in the past that Andersen was being investigated for his involvement with an underaged girl. It sounded quite troubling, but there was never any detail as to what the whole story was about. The details of exactly what happened has surfaced, and “Birdman” was reportedly the victim of an internet crime, from Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
“We were always confident that Chris was innocent but we just couldn’t figure out what had happened,” Andersen’s lawyer, Mark Bryant, told ESPN.com. “It turned out that it was a Manti Te’o situation. It was Manti Te’o on steroids.”
In Andersen’s case, a woman in the middle used social media to dupe two people without their knowledge, according to police.
The woman, identified by the Denver Post as Shelly Lynn Chartier of Easterville, Manitoba, posed as Andersen in electronic conversations with a woman in California. Then she posed as the California woman in electronic conversations with Andersen.
Along the way, police told Andersen, she made threats pretending to be Andersen and attempted extortion pretending to be the woman from California. Chartier was arrested by Canadian authorities in January.
Her communications between the parties were successful enough that the woman from California traveled to Colorado, when Andersen was then playing for the Denver Nuggets, and met Andersen. Their relationship, however, did not develop. At the time of their meeting, the woman from California was of legal age, Bryant said.
“When they searched Chris’ house they were basically looking for an I.P. address,” Bryant said. “But it wasn’t there. They kept investigating but it took time because it ended up involving two countries.”
It’s amazing that investigators were able to come to the bottom of this issue. It’s even more amazing – in a very disturbing way – that someone is capable of duping two people into believing that they are actually talking to each other online. Luckily for Andersen, he will not be wrongfully charged in any way, and can move forward with his life. The lesson here: if you meet someone online and the communication is sketchy, turn away from the computer and go find yourself a date that you can actually see face to face.
Onto other news from around the league (14 items):
- Jeff Pendergraph is no longer Jeff Pendergraph and here is why, from Jeff McDonald of Express-News: “In July, the Spurs signed a free agent forward named Jeff Pendergraph to a two-year contract. No player by that name will ever appear in a Spurs uniform. Last month, Pendergraph walked into a courthouse in downtown Phoenix, his wife Raneem and newborn daughter Naomi in tow. He walked out with a new name — Jeff Ayres. Ayres is family name of his biological father, James. It replaces the surname of a stepfather who hasn’t been in the picture since the player formerly known Jeff Pendergraph was in high school. For the 26-year-old veteran of three NBA seasons, the journey from Pendergraph to Ayres was in some ways as simple as filling out a thick stack of paperwork and filing it with an Arizona judge. It was also a complicated decision, with a complex back story, one that tests the traditional definitions of blood and family. “I didn’t know who my dad was until I was a senior in high school,” Jeff Ayres said Wednesday, during a break from pickup games as the Spurs’ practice gym.”