By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If getting bounced in the East Semis wasn’t bad enough for the Philadelphia 76ers, the team has now launched an independent investigation regarding some wild allegations against team president Bryan Colangelo.
According to an investigation by The Ringer, which started after they received an anonymous tip, Colangelo was secretly using five burner Twitter accounts to criticize Philadelphia players (including Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz), question the 76ers coaching staff and bash former GM Sam Hinkie. The accounts also disclosed medical information about former 76ers center Jahlil Okafor that hadn’t been made public.
After The Ringer’s Ben Detrich reached out to the team regarding two of the accounts, holding off on mentioning the other three, “all three of the accounts I hadn’t discussed with the team switched from public to private, effectively taking them offline.”
It’s a pretty incredible story and highly entertaining, given some of the interactions the burner accounts had with Philadelphia fans and media members. One account chastised actress Gabrielle Union and her husband, Dwyane Wade, for being rude to children at a restaurant during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (come on, who wants to chat with kids when eating Pizza in Beijing?).
It’s not so funny, though, when the accounts were used to pass along previously unknown medical information about players. As the 76ers were going through their messy divorce with Okafor, one of the accounts urged a Philadelphia writer to dig deeper into the player’s medical history.
“Ask Jah If he passed other team physical?” the account “Eric Jr” tweeted at Philly.com’s Keith Pompey. “I bet the farm it’s what’s happened.”
Another account, “Enoughunkownsources”, criticized Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid on several occasions, while “Eric Jr” urged writers to write about the player’s behavior on and off the floor.
“If I had a medium size ladder I would love to knock some sense in Joel’s head right now,” the account tweeted. “He is playing like a toddler having tantrums.”
“He should be called out on this. Nobody has the guts to do it,” tweeted Eric Jr.
There were also tweets about Fultz’s difficult upbringing, not to mention a whole lot of Hinkie bashing. It’s too bad Colangelo didn’t use these accounts to have some fun, and instead dove deep into the cesspool that is social media. Bashing his players is one thing, but to discuss medical information and personal matters is a dangerous and reckless use of the platform by a supposed professional.
It will be interesting to see what the 76ers unearth from their investigation, and what it means for Colangelo’s future with the team. Chances are his current crop of players won’t be too happy to learn their president was anonymously bashing them online, and the team will likely be looking for a new leader in the near future after a promising 2017-18 season.