NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he would like a quick and thorough resolution to the Philadelphia 76ers’ investigation of general manager Bryan Colangelo and also addressed the video of Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown’s arrest during his pre-NBA Finals press conference Thursday.
Silver said he does not have additional information about the investigation into Colangelo — which was spurred by Wednesday’s report from The Ringer alleging the 76ers GM’s secret use of five burner Twitter accounts — but he has been in touch with the team on the subject.
The commissioner lamented that the story has become prominent enough to distract some of fans’ attention away from the NBA Finals, which tipped off between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.
“Here we are, Game 1 of the Finals, it’s not necessarily something that we want to be talking about,” he said. “But it’s the reality of this league. And so I have no information beyond that, other than that investigation is underway.”
TheRinger.com reported Wednesday that a source pointed the website to five anonymous Twitter accounts from which Colangelo allegedly criticized his team’s players and coaches plus former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie. One of the accounts also reportedly passed along private medical information about then-Sixers center Jahlil Okafor plus gossip about other players, including star big man Joel Embiid.
In a statement, Colangelo called the story “disturbing” and admitted that one of the five accounts was his, but he denied knowledge of the other four. However, TheRinger.com put together a detailed list of circumstantial evidence making the case that all of the accounts were controlled by Colangelo — including the fact that three of the accounts immediately switched from public to private last week after the reporter told the team of his suspicions without mentioning those three accounts.
The 76ers retained an independent law firm to investigate the matter.
Silver emphasized Thursday that illuminating all of the information surrounding the situation should be the first priority.
“Let’s find out what’s going on,” he said. “We have to separate the chatter and sort of what either fans or frankly the media are saying from the facts. The first thing we have to do here is determine what the actual facts are in this circumstance.”
Silver also addressed the body-camera video of Brown’s arrest that was released last week, which showed Brown being thrown to the ground and tased by police in the aftermath of a parking infraction.
“I saw the video for the first time when the public saw it,” Silver said. “It’s horrific. For any of us, regardless of the fact that he’s an NBA player, it was difficult to watch. It’s painful.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales told reporters last week that officers “acted inappropriately” during the incident with Brown, and multiple officers have been disciplined for their actions.
Silver said he has been in touch with Brown and his father, who was a police officer in Chicago for 30 years.
“It’s a reality in our country right now that there’s a disconnect often between young people of color especially and police officers — incidentally black and white,” Silver said. “And one of the things the league has undertaken, led in many ways by our players and by our leading players, has been defined ways to build bridges in communities to create dialogue directly between young people and police officers.”
He added that some NBA teams have been in touch with local law enforcement with hopes of improving relations in their communities.
—Field Level Media