The Philadelphia 76ers announced on Thursday that president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo resigned, after an independent investigation found that his wife owned and operated multiple anonymous Twitter accounts criticizing the organization.
Sixers Managing Partner Josh Harris released an official statement about the resignation.
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization has accepted the resignation of President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo, effective immediately. We appreciate Bryan’s many contributions during his time leading our basketball operations and thank him for the work he did in positioning the team for long-term success,” he said.
Head coach Brett Brown will oversee the team's basketball operations on an interim basis.
Last week, The Ringer published a story on Colangelo’s alleged use of burner Twitter accounts. Through cited evidence in their story, the media outlet connected numerous Twitter accounts to Colangelo. However, it was damaging things that were said on the social media site, which were alarming.
The anonymous Twitter accounts in question posted negative things about current Sixers’ Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, and former Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel.
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Therefore, the Sixers launched their own independent investigation a couple of days later into Colangelo’s alleged social media use. The team hired New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to investigate the Twitter accounts.
The law firm released a statement on Thursday, concluding that they do not believe Colangelo established the accounts nor posted on them. However, they found evidence that supported Colangelo’s wife, Ms. Barbara Bottini, using the multiple accounts in question.
According to the law firm, Ms. Bottini admitted to creating and posting on the Twitter accounts in an interview and forensic evidence backed it up.
"Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club- related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization."
In response to the law firm's statements about his reckless behavior, Colangelo issued a statement, disputing the allegation.
“While I am grateful that the independent investigation conducted by the 76ers has confirmed that I had no knowledge of or involvement in the Twitter activity conducted by my wife, I vigorously dispute the allegation that my conduct was in any way reckless. At no point did I ever purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her," he said.
“Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognize how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent. Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions. While this was obviously a mistake, we are a family and we will work through this together.
“Although I am not directly responsible for the actions, I regret this incident occurred and understand that it has become a distraction for the team. Therefore, the organization and I have mutually agreed to part ways.”
Colangelo, a two-time NBA Executive of the Year, was supposed to be leading the Sixers into a pivotal offseason, where they could acquire a big time free agent.
However, that will now not be the case, as the team will immediately begin their new search for a new general manager.