Sixers to investigate Colangelo’s ties to secret Twitter accounts


By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly editor  

The last thing we all expected to be doing on a Tuesday night in Sixers offseason was finding out that Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations has reportedly been linked to a handful of fake Twitter accounts that gave out organizational information, criticized other front offices and talked poorly about players. On Wednesday morning, the Sixers released a statement on the matter, signaling they'd conduct an investigation of their own:

"“An online media outlet filed a story linking multiple social media accounts to 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo. 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."

Now to the actual story. Ben Detrick of The Ringer investigated a tip he received back in February that Bryan Colangelo was operating five secret Twitter accounts. All of the accounts followed members of the media that covered the team, Sixers staff and agents around the league.

The five accounts pinpointed by the unnamed source included one that followed media members, Sixers employees, and NBA agents but never tweets (its handle is @phila1234567, and it has no account name), and four that have posted tweets or replied to other users. Of those, one was active between April 2016 and May 2017 (its account name is Eric jr, and its handle is @AlVic40117560), two were active within the past five months (HonestAbe / @Honesta34197118 and Enoughunkownsources / @Enoughunkownso1), and one was posting several times a day (Still Balling / @s_bonhams) and as recently as last week.

Detrick reached out to a representative of the Sixers that asked the Colangelo if he had any link to these accounts and later that day, three of the accounts went from public to private. That same day, the representative from the Sixers reached back out to Detrick confirming that one of the accounts, @phila1234567, belonged to Colangelo. Shortly afterwards, Colangelo released a statement.

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.

The Ringer's story highlighted some of the more notable tweets from these burner accounts, everything from saying Jahlil Okafor's botched trade to the Pelicans wasn't Colangelo's fault, criticizing Sam Hinkie's tenure in Philadelphia and calling Nerlens Noel a vulture. It didn't take long for Joel Embiid to get wind of all of this and of course, his tweet won the hearts of Sixers fans everywhere. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski spoke with Embiid on Tuesday night and the Sixers All-Star said that Colangelo reached out to him personally to deny saying insulting things about Embiid. One of the burner accounts, @Enoughunknownso1, tweeted back on November 3, 2017 – "If I had a medium size ladder I would love to knock some sense in Joel's head right now. He is playing like a toddler having tantrums". Through all the drama last night though, it looks like Embiid doesn't believe the story to be true. 

Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports talked with Colangelo in Los Angeles on Tuesday and the Sixers President of Basketball Operations didn't waver from his original statement.

All of this information that is linked to Colangelo is pretty damning. He's had a tough time winning over the Sixers fans since his tenure in Philadelphia began, garnering criticism for the Nerlens Noel trade, Jahlil Okafor's extended stay with the team and trading up for Markelle Fultz with Jayson Tatum blossoming in Boston just to name a few. If any of this turns out to be true, it shouldn't be long before we see a firing or a resignation, but as we head into one of the most important offseason's in the recent history for the Sixers, you have to wonder how much this could affect the organization's ability to sign top-tier free agents.  

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