Philadelphia 76ers president under fire for alleged secret Twitter accounts

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Bryan Colangelo of the Philadelphia 76ers.

AP

Last Updated May 30, 2018 7:05 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- Mysterious tweets began appearing two years ago trashing members of the Philadelphia 76ers, and exposing sensitive team information. On Wednesday, the team said it's investigating whether Bryan Colangelo, its president of basketball operations, was behind it.

In the punishing world of NBA, basketball players usually take their licks during the game. However, some Sixers players allegedly took shots off the court from their own team president.

Since April 2016, Colangelo has allegedly operated five anonymous Twitter accounts, using them to call out his team's players and colleagues, according to a report on the website The Ringer.

One tweet compared the Sixers all-star center Joel Embiid to "a toddler having tantrums."

Another suggested that a trade involving former 76er Jahlil Okafor failed because "Jah did not pass physical."

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76ers' president Bryan Colangelo with players during practice. CBS News

Yet another took a swipe at his predecessor, Sam Hinkie, referring to himself as "BC" -- "BC has done nothing but clean up Hinkie's mess."

Colangelo denied all the tweets in a statement, saying he's never posted to social media and only used one of the five accounts to "monitor our industry."

"If they are true, they are career ending for Colangelo," CBS Sports columnist Bill Reiter told CBS News. "These guys -- who play professional sports, who run professional sports teams, who coach professional sports teams -- are really sensitive. They can be very thinned skinned."

An anonymous tip led The Ringer to investigate the accounts and link them to Colangelo based on similar followers and opinions. Some Twitter users had already grown suspicious.

"This you, Bryan?" one asked.

"No," Colangelo allegedly replied. "But thanks for the compliment! ... He is a class act."

The Sixers say they have launched an independent investigation. One possible repercussion already: the team is no longer the favorite to sign superstar LeBron James, after the NBA Finals.