PHILADELPHIA (WTXF/AP) - Bryan Colangelo has resigned as the Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations following an investigation into a number of Twitter accounts. Head Coach Brett Brown will oversee basketball operations on an interim basis.
Colangelo’s resignation comes after the 76ers launched an independent investigation by New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP.
According to the firm, Colangelo's wife, Barbara Bottini admitted to creating and operating the accounts.
Investigators say they could not conclude Colangelo was aware of the accounts prior to a May 22 press inquiry, but evidence suggests that he was the source of sensitive information that was used in some of the posts.
The investigation was launched after allegations reported by The Ringer investigating whether Colangelo used a variety of Twitter accounts to anonymously trash some of his own players and fellow executives, and defend himself against criticism from fans and the sports media.
The five Twitter accounts under suspicion took aim at Philadelphia players Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri and former Sixers players Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, according to The Ringer.
Among other things, the user or users of the accounts complained that Embiid, the 24-year-old All-Star center, was "playing like a toddler having tantrums" and was "a bit lazy," ''selfish" and "acting like a tool."
Statement from 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris: pic.twitter.com/eCmz42FD7P— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) June 7, 2018
The user of one of the accounts claimed to know Colangelo and described him more than once as a "class act." The tweets also raised the question of whether Colangelo used the anonymous accounts to divulge team strategy and details about players' medical conditions.
Colangelo previously acknowledged using one of the accounts to monitor the NBA industry and other current events but said he wasn't familiar with the four others that were being operated by his wife.
76ers managing partner Josh Harris released a statement after accepting Colangelo's resignation. Colagelo offered his resignation after "recognizing the detrimental impact this matter had on the organization."
The statement read in part:
"We find the situation to be disappointing for our entire organization. We are determined to continue the tremendous progress we have made over the last two seasons in our quest to win an NBA Championship. As such, we have appointed head coach Brett Brown to oversee basketball operations on an interim basis to lead our efforts in this important offseason. He will work closely with the rest of our talented basketball operations department in preparing for the upcoming NBA Draft and thereafter until a new General Manager is found. The search for a new General Manager will commence immediately."
Bryan Colangelo also released a statement following his resignation:
"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.
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.
Over the last two years, I have worked hard to help build a foundation for what I hope will soon be many championship seasons for the 76ers. I am grateful to team owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer for the opportunity they gave me to be part of such a great organization. I am saddened to have to leave under these circumstances.
Basketball has been a core part of my life since childhood. I love the game and all those who play and coach it. I want to thank the many colleagues, players and friends from around the League and elsewhere who have expressed their support and encouragement during this difficult and painful time for me and my family. "