When Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka suspended for the entirety of 2022–2023, the initial reason was that Udoka “broke team policy.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 23, 2022
That cryptic announcement brought tears to many observers, including former NBA player and ESPN analyst Matt Barnes, who said via social media the Celtics made a “terrible decision.”
#ImeUdoka was banned for the entire season after it was revealed that he had an “inappropriate intimate and consensual relationship with a female team member”. now #MattBarnes shares his thoughts on the whole matter. Read more at https://t.co/NgmfaFQdbz pic.twitter.com/DaUG1J5IQ1
— Theeshaderoomed (@Theeshaderoomed) September 23, 2022
But today team owner Wyc Grousbeck elaborated on the Udoka incident. Corresponding The New York Times, Grousback told an unidentified person that Udoka had an “inappropriate relationship with a female team employee.”
He added that the team hired an independent “law firm to conduct an impartial investigation” after learning of the allegations over the summer.
Grousbeck added that the suspension was “reasonable and reasonable and supported by extensive investigation and facts.” And it comes with a “significant financial penalty”.
A great turn of events
The startling revelation prompted many, like Barnes, to pick and roll.
He took to Instagram tonight to express his thoughts and drop some bombshells of his own.
“Last night, without knowing all the facts, I spoke in Ime Udoka’s defense and after finding out the facts, after speaking, I deleted what I had posted because this Boston situation is profound, messy and 100 times over uglier than any other we thought” said Barnes.
He added that some inside information also influenced his decision: “I got a call from someone who went through all the details and the shit runs deep. I am praying for everyone involved, hope everyone gets through this.”
Adding to the chaos, many have scrambled to identify the reporter in question, prompting Amanda Pflugard, a reporter for the Celtics team, to speak out.
“To see the names of unrelated people, including mine, being thrown around in the media with such carelessness is disgusting,” she tweeted.
It is time for me to speak out on this matter and to my colleagues, I see you and I am always here #womensport pic.twitter.com/c4RKu4HcxL
— Amanda_Pflugrad (@Amanda_Pflugrad) September 23, 2022
Grousbeck also defended his employees.
“It is truly unfortunate that female staff have been involuntarily brought into the public eye and we regret this and it is unfortunate. I will not refer to others who may be involved for privacy reasons,” he said.
Who is Ime Udoka?
Udoka, 45, became the Celtics’ head coach last year. After the team started the season under .500, Udoka made a turnaround that took them to the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 years. He is the fifth coach in the past 25 years to reach the NBA Finals in his rookie season.
Udoka has issued a public apology for the incident, saying in a statement: “I’m sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will not comment further.”
To make matters worse, Udoka is engaged to actress Nia Long. The couple had a son together in 2011.
Asked for comment, Long said Persons, “The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and community during this difficult time means so much to me.”