The Boston Celtics have suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season for violations of the team’s code of conduct. And governor/CEO Wyc Grousbeck confirmed, that’s “violations,” plural.
Grousbeck and President of Basketball Ops Brad Stevens addressed the Udoka suspension during a press conference Friday. While there wasn’t much in the way of further details on what exactly happened to lead to the suspension, Grousbeck shed enough light to help the public understand that Udoka’s punishment was deserved.
“I personally feel that this [suspension] is well warranted and appropriate, backed by substantial research and evidence and facts,” Grousbeck said. “And, so, I’m standing by the decision, and Ime has accepted it and has expressed, in fact, appreciation. I don’t want to belabor that, but he’s been accepting of it, and he’s planning to move forward on this basis.”
Grousbeck later confirmed that it wasn’t just one incident that led to Udoka’s punishment: “There were a couple of violations, at least.”
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JUNE 10: Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics looks on in the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 10, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
According to Shams Charania at The Athletic, Udoka’s suspension stemmed from “an intimate relationship with a female member of the organization.” But this passage from the Charania report suggests that the relationship strayed from consensual to non-consensual at some point:
Some members of the Celtics organization first became aware of the relationship in July, sources said. At that time, team leadership was led to believe by both parties that the relationship was consensual. But sources said that the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her — leading the team to launch a set of internal interviews.
Additionally, they said the female staffers involved in the incidents will not be punished. Which implies that they’re being treated as victims, rather than mutual parties.
So, add those details to Grousbeck’s confirmation that Udoka had “multiple” transgressions, and it becomes more understandable that the head coach would be suspended for a full season. In a statement Thursday night, the Celtics also indicated that Udoka may not ultimately return to the team next season.
It’s hard to believe that Udoka could coach the Celtics again, if we’re talking about a pattern of behavior and not just an isolated incident.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.