NBA star D’Angelo Russell spent the past week in team purgatory after secretly filming his teammate Nick Young, a.k.a. Swaggy P, seemingly confessing to cheating on his super-famous musician fiancée Iggy Azalea. The video, which was reportedly captured on Snapchat, then ended up online for the world to see.
Swaggy P didn’t realize he was being recorded, and Russell — a star point guard on the Los Angeles Lakers — claims he has no idea how the video ended up on the Internet. But it did, and Russell was treated like an untouchable all week by teammates as punishment for breaking the almighty bro code that forbids one man-bro from tattling on another under basically any circumstance.
Social media mishaps happen all the time, but what makes this slip-up so intriguing (besides the fact that it’s the Lakers and Iggy Azalea and a guy who asks people to call him Swaggy P) is that this incident reportedly happened on Snapchat, an app known for ephemeral, disappearing messages that should theoretically prevent an issue like this from ever happening.
League sources say D'Angelo Russell was recording Nick Young on Snapchat and his account was hacked.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 30, 2016
But here’s the catch: While many publications seem content to label this as a Snapchat scandal, it seems virtually impossible for the video to be from Snapchat.
Let’s unpack this a bit. The video is 44 seconds long. Snapchat videos recorded within the app can’t be more than 10 seconds long. Snapchat does allow you to send videos of any length from your camera roll to another user via a private, direct message. But! It just added that feature last Tuesday, March 29. The Swaggy P confession was published on YouTube on March 24.
So we know two things:
- The video was too long to be filmed within the app.
- The feature that would have allowed Russell to use Snapchat to send it from his camera roll was released after the video came out.
A Snapchat spokesperson tells me the company doesn’t give celebrities early access to updates so let’s eliminate that possibility. The Verge wrote this story last year about an iOS bug that allowed users to record videos longer than 10 seconds, but we couldn’t get it to work (bug has been fixed, perhaps?) Even if it did work, Snapchat still capped videos at 10 seconds when you actually tried to send them.
It’s possible that Russell was a super big Snapchat nerd and tried to use a third-party app to send video from his camera roll via Snapchat before this update, but even then, recipients of a private message on Snapchat can’t download the content. You’d need to use a separate phone or camera to record the screen of the first phone, so the video quality would likely suck.
All of this means that the most likely scenario is that Russell took the video on his phone, just like everyone takes video on their phone, and it somehow got into the wrong hands. If a video exists on your phone, there are dozens of ways for it to pass to somebody else.
So while this may not be a Snapchat "oops" it’s still a reminder that what was once a send-and-then-it-disappears messaging experience is now far from it. Snapchat has pushed more aggressively into messages with staying power to keep people using its app and there are a lot of ways a Snapchat message can be saved.
You can share photos and images for unlimited viewing for 24 hours at a time; you can download photos or videos before sending them to friends; you can replay snaps that friends send you; and, of course, you can always screengrab a private image for permanent remembrance.
It’s easy to understand why people believe this video came from Snapchat.
Snapchat may be uber popular, but ephemerality is no longer its calling card. It may not be the reason Russell is in hot water, but it’s bound to pull some other celebrity down in the very near future.
Here’s the video for those interested.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.