Brian Harrison calls Brent Axe's show.

The idea of people in powerful positions in sports running “burner” social media accounts (accounts not linked to them) shows up every once in a while. There have been some cases of some people linked to those kinds of accounts, whether they personally use them themselves or not (see Bryan Colangelo, Kevin Durant, and Skip Bayless for a few examples), but the accusations of “burners” go well beyond that, with some people citing anything positive about a team as proof it came from the inside. And one funny one with Syracuse Orange basketball has been people occasionally claiming that Brian “Orange 44” Harrison (a long-time blogger and Twitter commentator on the team) is actually a burner account for head coach Jim Boeheim.

Harrison has put out plenty of takes defending the Orange program amidst criticism from other fans, and has even spotlighted a lot of those criticisms in a running thread. Well, that’s led to some of that “burner” discussion. And that led to an interesting on-air bit on ESPN Syracuse/Cuse Sports Talk’s On The Block with Brent Axe Thursday, where Axe had Harrison on the phone, and where he relayed to Harrison live on air how his producer Jordan Capozzi had brought up the Twitter discussions of Harrison’s account being Boeheim’s burner:

To start with, the idea of 77-year-old Jim Boeheim having this kind of Twitter account as a burner is hilarious. Yes, Boeheim has long proven willing to engage with discussion about him, even conducting an unscheduled call-in to Axe’s show in 2017 after hearing Axe’s discussion about Syracuse recruiting, and he’s had notable grudges against particular media figures (especially Andy Katz). But he barely uses Twitter himself. And yes, that doesn’t preclude him from operating another Twitter account to keep an eye on and engage with discussion about the team.

But, if Boeheim did have a burner, it’s not going to be an account like Harrison’s. Harrison joined Twitter in 2009, has often blogged about Syracuse (which adds significantly to the amount of time any such deception would take; if anyone out there has the time to run a long-standing blog specifically to craft a false identity, well, we salute you, but you should find other hobbies), has his Twitter account far from exclusively focused on Syracuse (or on Syracuse basketball, for that matter; he often talks about other Orange teams), and just generally acts like a real person. His account’s no “AlVic40117560,” the Colangelo-linked account that spent its time putting out specific inside information on a variety of Sixers’ players while questioning those who doubted Colangelo. (And while it would be incredibly funny if Jim Boeheim had spent a decade-plus building up a convincing fake Twitter persona, and even running a blog about his own team, that’s not remotely believable.)

All in all, this wasn’t really a serious accusation that Harrison’s account was a Boeheim burner, at least not when it came to the on-air discussion. As Capozzi notes in response to Axe, “Your producer, Jordan Capozzi, who has a name, has heard speculation that that account is a Boeheim burner, and I asked if you had heard those rumors.” And, as Axe states, he’s known Harrison for a long time, and is well aware that he’s real. And it’s unclear if even the people who have lobbed “Boeheim burner” accusations at Harrison over the years truly believe that, or if they’re just throwing out something along the lines of a “You’re parroting the company line” insult. But “Can you confirm that you’re not Jim Boeheim’s burner account?” “I can confirm that I’m not, and that I’m also a real person” is a funny live sports talk moment. (As is Capozzi’s follow-up of “How do we know this isn’t one of Jim Boeheim’s sons we don’t know about because he doesn’t play basketball?”)

[Cuse Sports Talk on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.