Philadelphia 76ers team president Bryan Colangelo resigns from post
Bryan Colangelo resigned Thursday as president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers in the wake of what an investigation found was "careless and in some instances reckless" share of sensitive team information.
The independent review by a law firm did not determine that Colangelo operated or was even aware of Twitter accounts that anonymously trashed some of his own players and fellow executives, and defended him against criticism from fans and the sports media.
The Sixers released a statement today saying that Colangelo has resigned as team president after serving in that post since 2016. Colangelo was at the center of of an investigation into anonymous Twitter accounts that were reportedly been linked to him.
In the interim, Sixers coach Brett Brown will oversee basketball operations for the Sixers. Sixers managing partner Josh Harris released t he following statement via the team on Thursday:
The Philadelphia 76ers organization has accepted the resignation of President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo, effective immediately. We appreciate Bryanâs 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.
An independent investigation by New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was conducted into certain anonymous social media accounts that posted information concerning the club, personnel, and related topics (a statement of the findings is attached). It has become clear Bryanâs relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised.
Recognizing the detrimental impact this matter had on the organization, Colangelo offered his resignation. 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.
Colangelo said in a statement that he disputes the findings and that his conduct was reckless. He says he did not resign, but instead mutually agreed to part ways with the team:
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.
Per the findings of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the investigation began on May 30 and ended on June 5, focusing on "electronic evidence" from multiple electronic devices such as iPads, i Phones and computers. The Twitter usernames that were investigated were Eric jr, Still Balling, Enoughunkownsources, and HonestAbe.
The Sixers started their investigation into tweets linked in a report to Colangelo that criticized Sixers players Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, among other NBA figures.
The burner accounts also took aim at former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri and former Sixers players Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, according to a report by The Ringer website.
The law firm said sought to establish who was responsible for establishing and posting to those Twitter accounts, whether or not Colangelo was aware of the accounts before May 22 (when the media asked the Sixers about the accounts) and whether or not Colangelo was the source of any "sensitive, non-public information concerning the 76ers or its personnel communicated on the Twitter accounts."
Per the law firm's findings, Colangelo 039;s wife -- Barbara Bottini -- established the accounts and posted content on them.
"When interviewed, Ms. Bottini admitted establishing and operating the accounts. Forensic evidence corroborates her admissions," the law firm said in a statement.
"We cannot conclude that Mr. Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts prior to the May 22 press inquiry. Mr. Colangelo denies any such awareness and we have not observed any forensic evidence establishing that he had knowledge of the Twitter accounts prior to that date. We note, however, that our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini, including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review."
Additionally, the law firm says Bryan Colangelo was "the source of sensitive, non-public, club-related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We beli eve 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."
The Ringer had asked the team about five Twitter accounts it suspected Colangelo was operating. He said in a statement that he used one of the accounts to monitor the NBA industry and other current events, but that he was "not familiar with any of the other accounts" brought to his attention and that he didn't know who was "behind them or what their motives may be in using them."
Embiid, the 24-year-old All-Star center, tweeted that he didn't believe the report.
"I don't believe the story. That would just be insane," he wrote.
Colangelo was hired as president of basketball operations f or Philadelphia in April 2016. He served as Toronto's general manager from 2006-2013.
Colangelo, the son of longtime sports executive Jerry Colangelo, stepped in with the Sixers after Hinkie resigned. He lost his GM job in Toronto after the Raptors missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, and Ujiri took over basketball operations.
According to The Ringer, one of the Twitter accounts it connected to Colangelo downplayed Hinkie's role in the franchise's turnaround. It also lamented in another post that Ujiri hadn't done anything to make the Raptors better.
Another account accused Embiid of "playing like a toddler having tantrums," and one criticized Fultz for his work with his "so called mentor/father figure."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.Source: Google News US Sports | Netizen 24 United States