PHILADELPHIA – Bryan Colangelo may not have authored any of the tweets himself, but he seemed to provide private information that went into them.
And 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 basketball executive.
Colangelo resigned Thursday as president of basketball 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 evidence supported the conclusion that Colangelo's wife, Barbara Bottini, operated the four accounts it investigated, and she admitted to doing so – though also said she deleted contents of her iPhone prior to surrendering it for forensic review, limiting the investigation.
“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.
As for Colangelo, there was no evidence he knew of the accounts before a May 22 inquiry from the sports website 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 general manager Sam Hinkie, Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri and former Sixers players Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel.
Colangelo released a statement disputing 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. ... Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions.”