The 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo appeared to use five fake Twitter accounts to criticize players like Joel Embiid, disclose sensitive information and share team strategy, reportsThe Ringer's Ben Detrick.
The accounts posted from April 2016 to last week and criticized players like Jahlil Okafor and Markelle Fultz, coach Brett Brown and executives such as Sam Hinkie. The tweets disclosed nonpublic medical information about Okafor and gossip about Embiid and Fultz. The accounts always defended Colangelo.
When Detrick reached out to the 76ers about two of the accounts, the 76ers later confirmed Colangelo had been behind one of them. Despite not mentioning the other three Twitter accounts, those three were switched to private after Detrick's inquiries.
A week later, Detrick contacted the organization about the possible link between all five accounts, and the team released this statement from Colangelo:
"Like many of my colleagues in sports, I have used social media as a means to keep up with the news," Colangelo said in the statement. "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."
According to Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania, Colangelo stood by that statement after the news broke Tuesday night.
The 76ers says they will investigate the claims against Colangelo, who is a two–time Executive of the Year.
"The allegations are serious and we have commenced an independent investigation into the matter. We will report the results of that investigation as soon as it is concluded," the team said in a statement.
Detrick reported he was tipped off by a source who worked in artificial intelligence. After the source noticed tweets being directed at Sixers writers, they discovered the five accounts were similar in linguistics used and users followed.
Embiid tweeted a response to the allegations.
The 52-year-old Colangelo has worked in the NBA for almost three decades, and his father Jerry Colangelo is a former owner and former chairman of USA Basketball.
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