Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Colangelo quits amid Twitter row

AP, PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania

Bryan Colangelo might not have authored any of the tweets himself, but he seemed to provide private information that went into them.

When his wife used those details to criticize his own players or rival colleagues, Colangelo and the Philadelphia 76ers knew he could no longer remain their top executive.

Colangelo on Thursday resigned as president of operations for the 76ers in the wake of what an investigation found was “careless and in some instances reckless” sharing 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 media.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP said that evidence supported the conclusion that Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, operated the four accounts it investigated, and she admitted to doing so — although she also deleted contents of her iPhone with a factory reset prior to surrendering it for forensic review.

“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,” the report said. “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.”

As for Colangelo, there was no evidence he knew of the accounts before a May 22 inquiry from the sports Web site The Ringer for a story it reported linking him to five Twitter accounts that 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.

Colangelo in a statement disputed that his conduct was 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.”

Evidence found that Bottini established and operated four of the accounts — Eric jr, Still Balling, Enoughunkownsources and HonestAbe — but it seemed some of the information being posted, such as details of trade discussions or medical reports, came from Colangelo.

As such, the team said it had “become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised” and that it had accepted his resignation.

Coach Brett Brown is to oversee operations while the search for a new general manager begins immediately, the team said.

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