BOSTON — The Boston Celtics announced Thursday night that head coach Ime Udoka has been suspended for the entire 2022-23 season.
This comes after a day of speculation regarding Udoka’s off the court behavior, in which ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported it involved “his role in a consensual relationship with a female staff member.”
According to the team, Udoka violated team policies and the suspension will take effect immediately.
“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the team wrote in an official statement.
In an alleged statement given to ESPN’s Malika Andrew, Udoka said in part:
I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. 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.— Ime Udoka via ESPN's Malika Andrew
In his first year as head coach, Udoka helped turn a sub-.500 team into a playoff team, taking them all the way to the NBA finals for the first time in 12 years.
Some said it would be detrimental to the team’s chances of winning a championship. Others said he deserved the suspension.
“If it was a consensual relationship the only one who should be most concerned is Nia, the mother of his son not the Celtics,” says Nasim Memon, a Celtics fan.
Celtics fans were on the edge of their seats Thursday night except it wasn’t game day. Instead, people outside the garden buzzed with opinions about the controversy surrounding head coach Ime Udoka.
“In a job setting you don’t mix work with pleasure. You leave that outside of work,” says Audrey Hall, a Celtics fan.
Some fans made comparisons between Udoka’s situation and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s scandal in 2019. They say there’s a difference in treatment between the men.
“I think it is a racial profiling thing in my eyes. This is not a major crime in my eyes and if Kraft can get away with it, Coach Udoka...this is his personal life, says Memon.
Others say the one year suspension is fair if Udoka did indeed have an intimate relationship with a female staff member.
“It doesn’t really sit right that your coach is not really focused especially when you are 2 wins away from the championship,” says Paul Riley, a Boston Celtics fan.
As for another run at a title, some fans Boston 25 News spoke to have mixed reaction, but ultimately believe all the attention on Udoka is overboard.
“Just get back to his work, everybody just go back to work,” says Jonathan Ngarmbe, a Celtics Fan.
Former Celtics star Paul Pierce tweeted out his opinion before the news broke saying “It should be a fine, not a suspension.” Boston 25 should know more about what’s next at the team’s media day on Monday.
NEW: Statement from Celtics coach Ime Udoka pic.twitter.com/MFutFx7c3l— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 23, 2022
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