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College basketball player denies having ‘gay benefactors’ or using drugs

Ricci Rivero, who plays in the Philippines, comes out forcefully against rumors.

Ricci Rivero
Instagram

Ricci Rivero, a popular college basketball player at a university in the Philippines, issued denials Tuesday that he had tested positive for drug use and was receiving money from “gay benefactors.”

Rivero, his brother Prince Rivero and a third teammate have taken a leave of absence from playing for De La Salle University in Manila, for violating school rules on accepting commercial sponsorships.

Rumors then started that Rivero had tested positive for using drug and was getting payoffs from gay benefactors. Rivero denied these rumors in a lengthy post on Twitter, that included a photo of drug test results that came back negative.

“I am aware of all the rumors and speculations circulating on social media and all those who personally expressed their concern to us from inside and outside the community,” Rivero said in a lengthy letter posted on Twitter. “Buzzes about alleged drug usage and alleged acceptance of money from gay benefactors.”

He spent a large part of the letter debunking the drug rumor and had this to say about being paid off by gay men:

”As for the lewd rumor — please do not disrespect the hard work of my parents to provide for me and my siblings. We are all working hard to help each other sustain a big family like ours. Me, simply accepting money is an insult — it is foul.”

This whole thing sounds bizarre and this was the first I had ever heard about Rivero, 19. He is a hit on social media, with 415,000 followers on Twitter, 395,000 on Facebook and 294,000 on Instagram, where he regularly promotes products. It also shows the power of social media to spread rumors so widely that Rivero felt compelled to issue a robust denial.