The 76ers have gone from the feel-good story of the NBA to an organization looking for answers.
The Sixers announced Wednesday that they have begun an independent investigation into Bryan Colangelo's alleged secret use of Twitter. The Ringer, a sports and entertainment website, reported Tuesday night that the team's president of basketball operations has five anonymous Twitter accounts, including four that have criticized Sixers players and coach Brett Brown and disclosed sensitive team information.
In a written statement released Wednesday morning, the Sixers said, "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."
Colangelo acknowledged having one of the Twitter handles reported in the Ringer post, @phila1234567, which didn't have an account name. He never tweeted from that account. However, The Ringer alleges that he also might operate four other accounts. It mentioned the Twitter account named "Eric jr.". The other accounts in question are "HonestAbe," "Enoughunkownsources," and "Still Balling."
All this comes after the Sixers posted their best season since 2000-01. They finished the regular season 52-30, in third place in the Eastern Conference, and earned their first postseason appearance since 2012. They ended the regular season with 16 straight end-of-the-season wins to set an NBA record. They also advanced to the conference semifinals before losing to the Boston Celtics in five games. Not bad for a squad that tanked the previous four seasons, winning a combined 75 games during that stretch.
According to the Ringer, the tweets include accusations that Jahlil Okafor could not be traded in 2017 because of a failed physical and that Brett Brown wanted Nerlens Noel out of the locker room. Another tweet sent to actress Gabrielle Union claimed that the user was sitting next to Union and her husband, Dwyane Wade, as the two mistreated a young fan at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
When reached for comment, Colangelo directed the Inquirer and Daily News to the response sent to the Ringer:
"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."
Embiid tweeted at one of Colangelo's reported fake accounts.
Embiid also talked to ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, saying Colangelo reached out to the all-star center to deny the story.