The details about what REALLY went down leading up to the season-long suspension of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka are confusing at best. It was first reported he was involved in a “consensual” relationship with a female Celtics staffer. Now, he’s being accused of making “unwanted comments” and violating “multiple” team policies. Get the latest details, plus what Ime and fiancée Nia Long said in separate statements inside….
As more details surface about what led up to the season-long suspension of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, the more confusing it gets.
Yesterday, the Celtics officially suspended its head coach, Ime Udoka (Nia Long’s fiancé), for the upcoming season after a monthslong investigation by an external law firm found that he violated “multiple” team policies.
According to team owner Wyc Grousbeck, no one else from the organization is facing punishment. He would not comment on specifics. The suspension runs through June 30, 2023, and assistant Joe Mazzulla will lead the team as interim coach for the season.
As of right now, it’s unclear if the suspension is unpaid, but Grousbeck confirmed the suspension comes with a “significant financial penalty.”
Ime released a statement to ESPN’s Malika Andrews after the suspension was announced.
”I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” he said. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
Now, the plot TWIST.
You’ll recall, previous reports stated Ime was facing suspension over an “improper” and “consensual” relationship with a female staffer. Now, an NBA insider is stating otherwise.
According to The Athletic reporter Shams Charania, some Celtics executives found out about Ime’s relationship back in July and believed it was, in fact, consensual. So, they’ve known about the relationship for months. However, a recent incident regarding the unidentified woman’s accusation that Ime made unwanted comments toward her is what led the team to investigate their relationship.
It seems this situation is “deeper” than what we know right now. Former NBA baller Matt Barnes is retracting a statement he made about the situation when it first came out. At first, Matt said the Celtics decision to suspend Ime Udoka for a year was a terrible decision.
”I played in the league for a long time. Anyone in the league could tell you this is a very common situation,” he said on Instagram. “This is not new news for people who’ve been in the league or around organizations. I’ve seen it from owners to executives, to coaches, to players, to trainers, to therapists, to dancers, to PR ladies. This is not uncommon.”
Now, the former Lakers baller is singing a different tune. He claims someone with more knowledge about the situation hit him up after he posted his comments and informed him it’s “messier” than what we currently know. Watch the clip below:
“This situation is deep, it’s messy, it’s 100X uglier than any of us thought.”
Matt Barnes on why he deleted his words defending Ime Udoka after becoming more informed on the situation last night
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) September 23, 2022
”Without knowing all the facts, I spoke in Ime Judoka’s defense and after finding out the facts, I erased what I posted because this situation in Boston is deep,” he said in a video. “It’s messy. It’s 100 times uglier than any of us thought and that’s why I erased what I said. Some things happened that I can’t condone, I can’t back, and it’s not my place to tell you what happened. But that was the reason I erased my post last night.”
Matt said he’s praying for everyone involved and hope everyone gets through this. Sheesh.
Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith weighed in on the controversy, revealing he has an issue with how public Ime’s situation is being handled since it’s not common for people in sports organizations to “mess around” with one another. While discussing the controversial topic, Stephen got into a heated discussion with ESPN journalist Malika Andrews on “First Take.”
“Stephen A, with all due respect, this is not about pointing fingers. Stop,” Malika said.
Peep a few clips below:
Malika andrews going at stephen a rack pic.twitter.com/IAlAMdMpkm
— Jamal Cristopher (@JamCristopher) September 23, 2022
— (@_Talkin_NBA) September 23, 2022
Watch their full debate here.
Nia Long – Ime’s fiancee & mother of his 10-year-old son – issued a statement to CNN about the scandal.
“The outpouring love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” she said in the statement. “I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”
MAN! This seems serious. Although, if it’s THAT messy and “deep,” why wasn’t he fired? We will just have to wait until more details come out to see what’s REALLY good.
Photo: AP Photo/Steven Senne, File