The NBA world was rocked last week with the news that the Boston Celtics were suspending head coach Ime Udoka for an entire year for what was later revealed to be an inappropriate relationship with another staffer. Rumors swirled as many in the media and NBA world attempted to figure out the specifics of the situation.
Udoka released a statement a day later in which he apologized but was also vague on details.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka 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.”
Pretty soon, more details began to leak. One report stated that the Celtics became aware of the relationship in July but launched an investigation into the relationship when “the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments towards her.” Meanwhile, more cryptic rumors and statements by others added fuel to the fire.
ESPN Sources: The law firm probe into Celtics coach Ime Udoka found crude language in his dialogue w/ a female subordinate prior to start of an improper workplace relationship, an element that significantly factored into severity of a one-year suspension: https://t.co/vjRArDWGZR
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 30, 2022
On Friday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the independent law firm that handled the probe into Udoka found that “he used crude language in his dialogue with a female subordinate prior to the start of an improper workplace relationship with the woman” and that doing so factored into the year-long suspension that he received.
Given that the relationship involved a superior and a subordinate, the power dynamic involved complicates Udoka’s path back to reinstatement a year from now.
There are likely to be more drips and reports to come from this disconcerting situation, especially given the unique nature of the world of American professional sports.