- The Philadelphia 76ers are parting ways with the team’s president, Bryan Colangelo, amid a scandal that initially appeared to link him to five burner Twitter accounts, ESPN reports.
- A third-party investigation eventually determined that Colangelo’s wife ran the accounts, which criticized players and appeared to leak sensitive team information.
- Colangelo denied involvement and knowledge of the accounts; the firm handling the investigation said it believed him.
- The information tweeted from the accounts may have negatively affected the view of the team heading into a big offseason.
The Philadelphia 76ers are parting ways with the team’s president, Bryan Colangelo, after a scandal involving burner Twitter accounts, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The decision, which Wojnarowski on Thursday said would be announced as a resignation, comes days after an explosive report from The Ringer that appeared to link Colangelo to five anonymous Twitter accounts, four of which discussed sensitive player and team information and criticized players, coaches, and executives.
A law firm hired by the 76ers to investigate in the wake of The Ringer’s report found that Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, ran the accounts. She admitted to establishing them and operating them.
When first contacted by The Ringer, the 76ers said one of the accounts, which did not tweet, was owned by Colangelo, who apparently used it to keep up with NBA news. There was no definitive proof linking Colangelo to the others; however, when The Ringer contacted the 76ers about two of the accounts, it intentionally did not mention the other three. Shortly after The Ringer contacted the 76ers, the status of the other three was changed from public to private, further raising suspicions.
Colangelo denied knowledge of the accounts shortly after the report came out.
In the days after the initial report, internet sleuths found evidence suggesting the accounts were linked to Bottini.
From the firm’s conclusion:
Here's what the Paul Weiss investigation concluded. pic.twitter.com/lpk7WjjLe9
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) June 7, 2018
The accounts tweeted criticisms of 76ers center Joel Embiid’s attitude and management of his injuries in years past as well as former center Nerlens Noel’s locker-room conduct. There were also tweets that criticized Colangelo’s predecessor, Sam Hinkie, and the team’s current head coach, Brett Brown, and that questioned the handling of rookie guard Markelle Fultz’s injury and rehab.
Additionally, the accounts appeared to leak private medical information about players, including that former center Jahlil Okafor failed a physical, thus canceling a potential trade.
The 76ers are approaching a critical offseason in which they have the cap space to sign a max free agent. The team is reportedly targeting LeBron James and Paul George. The optics surrounding the scandal may have had a negative impact on the team if Colangelo stayed in the position.
According to ESPN, Brown will oversee basketball operations in the interim.