By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The story taking the sports world by storm this week involves a potentially very, very embarrassing situation for Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo. According to research done by The Ringer’s Ben Detrick, Colangelo allegedly maintained multiple anonymous Twitter accounts, which he used to essentially cast a good light on all of the decisions Colangelo made with regard to roster management of the team.
Some examples of tweets from the accounts alleged to have been maintained by Colangelo include the following. (Remember: All of this is alleged. And the tweets are copied here verbatim, typos and all.)
Suggesting to a reporter to investigate whether Jahlil Okafor failed a physical, thus preventing a trade from being finalized:
“Ask Jah If he passed other team physical? He will not say not to lose other chance. But I bet the farm it’s what’s happened.”
Insulting the job done by former GM/president of basketball operations Sam Hinkie:
“BC has done nothing but clean up hinkie’s mess. Hinkie got great pieces but could make the puzzle work.” [Note: He probably meant “couldn’t” instead of “could.”]
Bashing former No. 6 overall pick Nerlens Noel for being a bad teammate:
“Noel is looking out for Noel. Knows about Jay’s knee and using it for leverage. What a great teammate! He disgusts me”
“Not so easy when he selected to have an other elective surgery before training camp. Plus (in all fairness) the new [front office] didn’t even have the chance to evaluate him as a player or as a locker room fit in the Summer of 2016.”
“Re: our convo on Noel. Questions emerged about Noel’s work ethic. He left the team for weeks to have an non-pressing thumb surgery. Until getting suspended for a drug violation (almost certainly marijuana), Noel’s most notable moment of the season was eating a hot dog.”
Criticizing current 76ers star Joel Embiid for dancing on stage at a Meek Mill concert, and for committing a foul:
“too bad that Embiid danced like a fool and the whole disaster happened, next time he will think twice before mocking his team”
“he is the one who tells the docs he still feels pain in knee… & then this? No respect”
“I am sure it is hard for him ‘to process’ the fact, that this is now Ben’s team. So he is acting up. This ego foul is costing us big!”
“Sorry – I am a Philly fan but out trade The process for The Unicorn in a heart bit. Such a smarter player”
“He is making me love Simmons more and more. Joel is having an ego crisis. This team is going to be Ben’s, Joel is acting up”
“Joel is selfish”
“Joel should care less about the Eagles and the celebration for their win and more about the Sixers. He played the same way in London, May be he cannot handle partying the night before a game? Just guessing, no real insight on this. Just old age reasoning”
“He is out of shape and a bit lazy. I am tired to just trust him.. do something”
Calling out a family friend/mentor of Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 draft pick last year, for messing with Fultz’s shot:
“Or … if somebody would care to go look for the story of what happened with his so called mentor/father figure… it would explain a lot about the shoulder and Fultz’ state of mind.”
“Nope the so call mentor tried to force him to change the shot. Tapes have surfaced of the guy making Markelle shooting while sitting on a chair, while on his back on the floor etc. The guy denies it as doesn’t want to say Y was forced out of kid’s life. Y nobody reports this”
“Because the trainer was his father figure and dating his mom”
“Supposedly he just had some really traumatic family personal experience which really messed him up, probably just needs some time to process (☺️) and heal.”
If these tweets were indeed sent by Colangelo, then the world now knows that he has the writing ability of an 8-year-old poodle. But much worse, if the 76ers discover in their investigation into the matter that Colangelo did send these tweets, then his career is going to be ruined. Smearing the reputations of players — some of whom are still on his team — while disclosing personal and medical issues would likely prevent any team from ever trusting Colangelo to be in a position of power.
Clearly, the matter of Colangelo’s alleged burner accounts is much more serious than, say, Kevin Durant firing back at some haters. It’s serious stuff.
As it relates to Boston, you can’t help but imagine what it would look like if some of the executives in this town ever took on the ill-advised approach of Colangelo. Certainly, there has been a questionable move or two made by some powerful decision-makers over the years, and as evidenced by Roger Goodell’s wife rushing to his Twitter defense with a rogue account, it can be hard to remain quiet when your character is being besmirched by random Twitter accounts on the internet. Sometimes, one must respond.
And while it’s almost certain that no other executives ever did what Colangelo allegedly did, well … here’s what we might see if the likes of Bill Belichick, Danny Ainge, Dave Dombrowski and some other Boston sports executives ever started seeing red after logging on.
(THESE ARE ALL 100 PERCENT FAKE! THEY WERE MADE ON A WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN MAKE FAKE TWEETS! THEY ARE NOT REAL!)
After Super Bowl LI …
Amid the ongoing spat with Tom Brady over Alex Guerrero …
After the much-debated fourth-and-2 call in Indy in 2009 …
In late January of 2002, when some people suggested that Belichick should let Drew Bledsoe start Super Bowl XXXVI vs. St. Louis (Twitter might not have existed in 2002, just as an FYI) …
After the Kendrick Perkins trade, aka the one real blemish on Danny Ainge’s Celtics resume …
After the Red Sox traded Jon Lester …
After Hanley Ramirez was traded last week, a trade which prevented the Red Sox from being on the hook for a $22 million option for Ramirez in 2019 …
OH WAIT that one did actually happen.
After the shocking Jamie Collins trade …
Oh jeez, how embarrassing, that one was real too. My bad.
After the Bruins got criticized for trading budding superstar Tyler Seguin …
Ah, phooey! That, too, happened. Sorry, I’m getting off track here, these are supposed to be fake.
After it was suggested that Bobby Valentine was not invested in his job …
Ugh! Also real!
Randomly during an impromptu press conference defending the Patriots against ball deflation accusations …
Gosh! That happened too? You’re kidding me.
Well, it looks like at times, executives do try to shape public opinion in certain ways. Whether that’s through telling some fibs at press conferences or leaking some info to some media friends or producing a behind-the-scenes television show or outright putting a name and a face on definitive comments, gaining some favorable press does seem to be a real desire sometimes.
But doing it via random Twitter accounts? In a way that leads to great shame if one gets caught? And with almost no chance of actually changing a single person’s mind about anything? That’s just crazy. And now every executive knows — in case, somehow, it wasn’t obvious before — just how bad they’d look if they were to ever engage in that kind of nonsense.