Add Bryan Colangelo, former president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers to the growing list of once prominent people who have damaged illustrious careers because of their actions on social media.
The Sixers and Colangelo parted ways on Thursday after details of Colangelos burner Twitter accounts surfaced and the deceitful and destructive way in which they were being used. It was an ugly revelation about a man who is as twisted in the art of manipulation as he is talented in the art of team construction.
Also, it’s a classic example of how if you live by the Twitter finger, you die by it. Once Colangelo resigned, Twitter had jokes about former GM Sam Hinkie, Colangelo’s relationship with his wife, how Sixers Twitter solved the case before a high-profile law firm did and how his dad Jerry tried to save his son’s job by threatening to damage team relationships if he was fired.
House Colangelo has fallen. via @KyleNeubeck https://t.co/jDonsT2UqC
BRYAN COLANGELO IS GONE https://t.co/lV9UzSHOea
Bryan Colangelo checks on his burner ravens (while wearing the most normal collar you’ve ever seen) in the #GameOfZones season finale https://t.co/5Q9C7QFcNX #Sixers @matt_mullin
Back in 2011, during the annual NFL Rookie Symposium, former NFL coach/current college coach Herm Edwards dropped a gem on a room full of NFL rookies concerning social media use. That advice included three magical words: Don’tpresssend.
Seven years later and Herms advice has fallen on deaf ears. In fact, athletes, organizations, and employees are hitting the send button more than ever, having thoroughly immersed themselves in the everyday social media race. They use the platform incessantly to increase the visibility of their brand, emotionally rant or just gauge how popular they are.
People who seek fame, or further fame, through social media are one category of personality. For the most part, they are pretty harmless just understand that every move they make will be to present themselves in a favorable light.
Then you have the masterminds of destruction and division like Bryan Colangelo and his wife. A guy so obsessed with his power and self-indulgence, and shielded by the impeccable legacy of his father that hes convinced himself that hes impenetrable to scandal and uses social media to play puppet master and artificially influence public opinion.
He could have used his wife’s multiple burner accounts to uplift his team and contribute to the growing public pride and sports success that the city has experienced. He was a prominent figure and the producer of a young platinum-studded hoops squad with the basketball world in the palm of their hands.
Instead of taking his PR game to the next level, he chose to use social media to attack his players, coaches, former employees and divulge personal medical information about his star players. Colangelo turned out to be a double spy of sorts. Running the Sixers by day and at his leisure using his wife to rip his players. He failed to protect the integrity of the club he oversees.
Even if the accounts belonged to his wife, who has taken complete blame for the burner accounts, nobody believes she was acting in secret without her husband’s knowledge. Married couples work in unison on many many fronts and something as extensive as creating multiple fake accounts would probably be discussed even if the spouse had no direct involvement with pressing the send button.
He had to go.
The threats of his respected dad Jerry couldnt save Bryan. Neither could his attempt to in some way make what his wife allegedly did on her own an honorable thing.
Statement from Bryan Colangelo, saying it was a misguided effort by his wife to defend him.
As part of a statement released at the conclusion of the investigation, the Sixers noted they did not believe Colangelo was aware of the burner accounts but placed responsibility on his shoulders for the situation unfolding as it did.
We cannot conclude that Mr. Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts prior to the May 22 press inquiry. Mr. Colangelo denies any such awareness and we have not observed any forensic evidence establishing that he had knowledge of the Twitter accounts prior to that date. We note, however, that our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini, including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review.
Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club- related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization.
This was truly one of the saddest moments in Philadelphia sports history. With LeBron embarking on his free agent tour soon and Philly planning on trying to woo the icon to The City of Brotherly Love, chaos in the front office is not a good look. Coach Brett Brown will hold the GM position in the interim so not much continuity will be lost with the coach and front office.
Philly Voice says, “Expect candidates like former Cavs GM David Griffin with tight connections to upcoming free agent LeBron James and Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren to get serious consideration for the position, among other qualified candidates. The Sixers will also look at internal candidates, such as Marc Eversley and Ned Cohen, with the short window between the draft and free agency complicating a potential job search.”
Sports aside, this is another glaring example of how social media can bring out the worst in a person. It can be used to push an artificial narrative or divulge private information, irreparably damage a person’s brand or sway public opinion against someone. In the hands of the wrong person, social media can bring down an empire. It can be as addicting as crack and heroin and Colangelo and his family got hooked on it, lost their minds and now Bryan Colangelo will pay for it with a damaged legacy and lost job opportunities as a team President.