Here at Liberty Ballers, we can’t stop talking about the Ringer article exposing Bryan Colangelo and his five Twitter accounts. Instead of keeping all of the good stuff to ourselves, we did a roundtable.
What was your initial reaction to reading the Ringer piece?
Adio Royster: My initial reaction was a combination of worry and celebration. I’m worried because the draft is next month, and free agency is two weeks after that. News like this is extremely detrimental in terms of convincing players (free agents) to come here — especially if Colangelo somehow dodges this. It’s celebration because, honestly, this is the fireable offense that a lot of us have been hoping for.
Emily Anderson: A combination of disbelief and ‘I need to get on Twitter immediately’.
Tyler Monahan: My initial reaction to reading the piece is that someone couldn’t possibly that stupid. I mean, FIVE burner accounts? He really needed FIVE?
Sohil Doshi: Initial reaction was “this is ridiculous”, like too ridiculous to even be true. As time has gone on I’m less and less sure that it’s Colangelo and it’s not just a family member or a fanatic that contrived the whole thing.
Roy Burton: A few paragraphs in, I honestly thought that this was a parody piece. But once Detrick started pulling out the figurative receipts, I knew it was a big deal. A MASSIVE deal.
Sean Kennedy: Equal parts “how is this happening?” and “of course this is happening to the Sixers”. The cloudy injury situations over the years helped prepared us for the bizarre Markelle Fultz saga this past season, which helped set the table for the craziest sports social media scandal in history. As emeritus Liberty Ballers member Michael Levin popularized, “Imagine enjoying a sport in Philadelphia.” On the heels of an immensely successful season and heading into an offseason where the Sixers are the odds-on favorite of landing arguably the greatest player of all-time, it’s only natural some sort of ticking time bomb exploded in this franchise’s face.
Kevin Rice: After reading it, I was still unsure if it were true, but if he is Eric Jr, I’m going to be so pissed off at myself for even defending him once during last season.
Kevin Love: My initial reaction was “Holy sh*t, Colangelo is gone by tomorrow afternoon.” But then, I found this sickening feeling in my stomach that this turns into a long, arduous, murky “investigation” that sees Colangelo stay here.
Caleb Turrentine: My initial reaction was that it all had to be completely true. The NBA has been so absurd this year that even the most ridiculous thing isn’t shocking. The Fultz story was weird enough but somehow, this takes the top spot.
In your opinion, what is the most damning/redeeming piece of evidence?
AR: Probably the circle of following. All of the accounts followed each other, and they all followed basically the same things related to the Sixers: CEO Scott O’Neil et al. The Eric jr account also followed Mattia Colangelo (Bryan’s son) and his players. I don’t think any “Joe Sixers fan” would do that.
EA: I would assume if Colangelo could prove that the accounts/the information the accounts were tweeting didn’t come from him, he would have done so and avoided the independent investigation that is now being conducted.
SD: Three of the accounts going dark as soon as the organization was made aware of the other two and the live tweeting of UChicago basketball was what stood out as head-scratching.
SK: The fact that the three accounts Detrick didn’t share his suspicions about with the team went private immediately after his email is a pretty big smoking gun. It’s substantial evidence that Colangelo was either running those accounts himself or knew the person who was running them and warned him or her that someone was sniffing around about burner accounts. The only other possible explanation is it was someone close to him running the other accounts without his knowledge, and when Bryan brought up the inquiry in an off-hand fashion, he or she went to cover the tracks. That seems extremely far-fetched. Occam’s razor: Bryan either ran those other accounts or knew who ran them.
CT: The similarities between the account Colangelo confirmed and then the ones that actually had tweets coming from it. Who the accounts follow and how they’re connected to Colangelo’s past. The IT part is fascinating to me. And the phone numbers associated with the accounts of course. Every piece of this story is so important.
What do you think happens from here?
AR: Whatever happens, it has to be quick and decisive. The Sixers launched an investigation into what they referred to as “serious allegations” in the press release from this morning, and there can be no lolly-gagging. As I mentioned, the draft and free agency are right around the corner. If they’re going to fire Colangelo -- which I feel should happen, regardless -- they have to get a new guy in there right away be it Hinkie returning, David Griffin or whoever.
EA: I think they need to fire him, even if the investigation is inconclusive. I’m convinced that if it was not Bryan Colangelo behind the keyboard, it was someone close to him who was bashing Joel Embiid, and we cannot lose JoJo because of Colangelo.
TM: Please get the Colangelo’s out of the front office, the NBA’s plan to destroy the Sixers from the inside won’t work on us!
SD: If Colangelo were innocent, I’d truly feel bad for him because this type of stuff is embarrassing. It’s a perception issue and regardless of the truth, the rest of the NBA and the fans spent hours making fun of the 76ers GM. The admittance to one fake burner account is now out there. While the others may not be his, what’s to say that there aren’t OTHER burner accounts? And while Durant was able to weather the storm of his own burner account fiasco, he’s a superstar player, not a front office executive that has to interact with other executives, agents, and players. If Colangelo were guilty, then this might be the last we see of a Colangelo in Philly.
RB: I don’t know how Colangelo survives this. Even if he’s tangentially caught up in it, there’s far too much reasonable doubt to trust him going forward. If Colangelo wasn’t the one doing the tweeting, then it looks like he supplied the person behind the keyboard with a fair amount of insider info.
SK: Colangelo has to go. The one burner account repeatedly insulted Joel Embiid and said he is not a franchise player, which is a huge problem for an organization where, in fact, Joel Embiid is the franchise player. Bryan can make all the denials and calls to Joel to try and smooth things over he wants, but it’s pretty obvious he or someone very close to him was bad-mouthing Embiid. It will come down to Embiid being extremely unhappy (and maybe even demanding a trade) if Colangelo is still around. The Sixers organization can’t risk that scenario arising. I repeat: Colangelo has to go.
KR: Even if he’s guilty, they’ll make up some BS to defend him. Got a feeling he won’t be fired.
KL: I’m feeling a months long escapade in which fans get virtually no new information from the organization.
Let’s be honest, this is kinda funny. What was the best thing you saw on Twitter last night?
AR: Kinda funny? No, this is absolutely gut-bustingly hilarious. This is why the Sixers are undefeated in the off-season. The funniest thing was probably this tweet from Embiid:
Joel told me that @samhinkie IS BETTER AND SMARTER THAN YOU @AlVic40117560 #BurnerAccount— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) May 30, 2018
This dude is savage AF, and I love it.
EA: I’m pretty basic:
1-2-3-4-5 Twitter accounts!— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 30, 2018
Today is like that day from the 30 For 30 about everything that happened the same day as the OJ Chase, except its a bunch of random ass shit on Twitter— Clemquon (@TheClemReport) May 30, 2018
SD: I spent the first few hours indulging in the hilarity because it was just too funny. The best part in terms of entertainment value (and consequently worst for Colangelo/76ers) is watching other basketball folk react to the whole mess, from Morey to Trevor Booker.
RB: I thoroughly enjoyed scrolling through the past tweets of one of the burner accounts and finding a reference to Joel Embiid’s proclivity of walking around with no shirt on.
SK: “That is a normal collar. Move on, find a new slant.” is easily the comedy gem among what could be a devastating situation for the franchise from a public relations and player trust perspective. The high collar thing has always been such a random thing that people harp on about Colangelo, and the fact that it has been eating away at him so much that he felt the need to try and clap back is hilarious. That phrase will be in the twitter lexicon for years to come.
KR: Jim Adair’s tweet with Bryan holding two phones captioned “it’s a normal collar” had me laughing so hard in the Hoagie line at Wawa. Also, the tweets that said NBA Twitter should’ve handled the Russian Probe were great.
KL: The best thing I saw on Twitter had to be the people suggesting Hinkie was the tipster.
CT: I laughed at this one way more than I should have:
Any other comments?
AR: Lost in all of this is Brett Brown’s three-year extension, and the rumors that Ben Simmons is dating Kendall Jenner -- which has put me in prime “jumping off the ledge” position.
EA: Ramona Shelburne is now following the Eric jr Twitter account. What a world.
TM: Hopefully this all just blows over soon enough, giving the franchise a bad look right before the biggest offseason of “The Process” definitely isn’t ideal. We have come too far to let this destroy everything the team has built.
SD: Its pretty “Philly” for the 76ers to be going into one of its most important off seasons in decades, only to have a bombshell expose that damages the credibility of who is in charge of making moves in said off season.
RB: Just think: The No. 1 pick in last year’s draft forgot how to shoot for most of the season, and that’s only the SECOND biggest story when it comes to the 2017-18 Philadelphia 76ers. What a time...
SK: If Sam Hinkie returns to the Sixers franchise, waltzing over the smoking ashes of the man’s reputation who played a huge role in unjustly forcing him out, it’s one of the great stories of our time.
KR: This 30 for 30 might be longer than the Lakers v Celtics one.
KL: I hate to be so negative, but I’m really worried about this situation and the perception of the franchise that could come of it.
CT: I’ll take this one as the worst thing I saw on Twitter and that was CJ McCollum’s tweet. I was having fun with all the other players and personnel jumping in on the conversation but even the thought of Embiid leaving made me angry with the world. Colangelo needs to go.