Boston Celtics second-year head coach Ime Udoka has been suspended for the entirety of the 2022-23 NBA season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Celtics followed up the announcement with a statement on Udoka’s suspension, citing the team’s conduct policy as cause for the lengthy ban:
“The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended Head Coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies. A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes effect immediately.”
Udoka responded to the ban in a statement relayed by ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting
them down,” the coach 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.”
Udoka was punished Thursday for his role in what is being deemed an “inappropriate, intimate relationship” with a Celtics female staffer. As OutKick detailed Wednesday, Udoka’s relationship was in violation of the Celtics’ code of conduct.
As news broke, Boston made it clear that the relationship between Udoka and the staffer was consensual.
Celtics Begin Training Camp Tuesday
Bally Sports’ Brandon Robinson reported Wednesday that Celtics players and staff were made away of the situation surrounding Udoka earlier this week. Robinson further stated that prior to engaging in an intimate relationship with the Celtics female staffer, Udoka and his partner, Nia Long, had been separated.
As news of Udoka’s inter-office relationship came to light, he was quickly linked to Allison Feaster. But multiple sources have since shot down those rumors. Feaster is Boston’s VP of Player and Organizational Development.
In his first season with Boston, Udoka guided the Celtics to a 51-31 regular season record. Boston went on to reach the NBA Finals, where they were eliminated by Golden State in six games.
Now, Boston will be forced to defend their Eastern Conference title without their 45-year-old head coach. In his place, the Celtics are expected to name assistant coach Joe Mazzulla the interim coach for the 2022-23 campaign.
Ime Udoka Spent Seven Seasons In The NBA As A Player
Prior to the suspension being announced, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith opined that Udoka would not be suspended if he were white.
“I’m going to take it a step further, I don’t appreciate that being done to a brother,” Smith said Thursday morning. “Because I got news for you America, there’s plenty of white folks in professional sports that’s doing their thing and I say that not complimentary.”
Minus Udoka, the Boston Celtics open their season versus Philadelphia at home on October 18th.
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