The Philadelphia 76ers and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo have parted ways.
The news comes more than a week after Colangelo, who was hired in April 2016, became engulfed in a scandal involving burner Twitter accounts. The Ringer released a lengthy investigative piece last Tuesday linking Colangelo to five anonymous accounts, four of which tweeted out a variety of information about the team, including negative assessments of its players. Colangelo admitted to operating one of the accounts — the one that never sent out a tweet — but denied knowledge of the other four.
In the days that followed, Twitter sleuths and various media reports were able to pinpoint a connection between the information sent from those accounts and Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini. The team ultimately hired New York law firm Paul, Weiss to investigate the matter, leading to Thursday’s news.
After completing its investigation, the firm said Thursday that Bottini admitted to operating the accounts. Bottini agreed to turn her iPhone over to investigators, but only after she “executed a factory reset of the device.”
“Our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini,” the firm said in its statement.
The firm could not conclude if Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts. He denied all knowledge.
In a statement, 76ers owner Josh Harris said Colangelo ultimately offered his resignation.
“It is clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised,” Harris said.
Harris said head coach Brett Brown will oversee basketball operations in an interim basis. A search for a new general manager will begin immediately.
Harris’ full statement is below:
After the team announcement, Colangelo said in a statement that he did not “purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information” with his wife.
“While I am grateful that the independent investigation conducted by the 76ers has confirmed that I had no knowledge of or involvement in the Twitter activity conducted by my wife, I vigorously dispute the allegation that my conduct was in any way reckless. At no point did I ever purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her,” his statement reads.
“Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognize how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent. Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions. While this was obviously a mistake, we are a family and we will work through this together.
“Although I am not directly responsible for the actions, I regret this incident occurred and understand that it has become a distraction for the team. Therefore, the organization and I have mutually agreed to part ways.”
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