The Ringer’s Ben Detrick posted a story on Tuesday night regarding several Twitter accounts which, according to Detrick’s source, are run by Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo. The accounts criticize players, coaches and executives.
While Colangelo did admit to running one of the accounts, which has never posted any tweets, he denied running the others in a statement issued by the 76ers.
“Someone’s out to get me,” Colangelo told Yahoo’s Jordan Schultz. “This is clearly not me.”
The report looks at tweets from five different accounts, all following people who are in some way connected to Colangelo, according to the Ringer.
The accounts criticize former Sixers big men Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, and a few of the tweets included in the report even scrutinized starting center Joel Embiid.
Other times, Embiid was described as “a bit lazy,” “selfish,” and “acting like a tool,” and accused of partying too much. “Ben is going to be better than Joel@snd less distracted by models and social media,” Still Balling wrote in October 2017, in response to Sixers Nation.
According to the report, some of the tweets shared “nonpublic medical information” about Okafor, suggesting that members of the media ask the 76ers about a failed physical. Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie and Head Coach Brett Brown — whom the Sixers just signed to an extension — are also included in tweets from the accounts mentioned in the report.
Joel Embiid had a pretty great response to the whole thing Tuesday night as Twitter erupted over the news.
He even tweeted at one of the accounts mentioned in the story.
He later told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he spoke to Colangelo over the phone about the report.
Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid tells ESPN on Bryan Colangelo: “I talked to him and he said that he didn’t say that. He called me just to deny the story. Gotta believe him until proven otherwise. If true though, that would be really bad.”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 30, 2018
Embiid posted another tweet, saying he doesn’t think the story is true.
Fun night on Twitter lmao.. All jokes asides I don’t believe the story. That would just be insane— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) May 30, 2018
The team’s response
The 76ers and Colangelo issued a statement the same day the report was released:
Like many of my colleagues in sports, I have used social media as a means to keep up with the news. While I have never posted anything whatsoever on social media, I have used the @Phila1234567 Twitter account referenced in this story to monitor our industry and other current events. This storyline is disturbing to me on many levels, as I am not familiar with any of the other accounts that have been brought to my attention, nor do I know who is behind them or what their motives may be in using them.
On Wednesday, the team said in another statement that it has started an independent investigation into the matter.
While that investigation simmered, sources began to report that team officials weren’t happy with Colangelo, forecasting an unpleasant future for the former two-time NBA Executive of the Year. Even if it turned out the burner accounts weren’t directly linked to Colangelo but instead tied to someone close to him — a family member, perhaps — it would still spell disaster for the team’s president of basketball operations.
So far, Philadelphia ownership has shown little, if any, inclination to separate Colangelo’s culpability in the matter should a family member or close associate be proven responsible for the postings, league sources said.
While many of Colangelo’s staff with the Sixers are bracing for his dismissal, some are still holding on to hope that he can somehow survive this firestorm with this job, sources say.We’ll update this story as more information comes.