Report: Udoka Made Unwanted Comments Toward Female Staffer



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The Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022–23 season on Thursday night, citing Udoka’s alleged involvement in an “improper” consensual relationship with a female member of the team’s staff.

However, the latest report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania shared new information about the circumstances that led to the suspension.

According to Charania, members of the Celtics organization became aware of the relationship in July, and Boston’s leadership was led to believe by both Udoka and the woman that the relationship was consensual. But the woman recently said that Udoka made unwanted comments toward her, prompting the team to launch a set of internal interviews, per Charania. 

The Celtics released a statement Thursday night, confirming that Udoka received a year-long suspension for “violations of team policies,” effective immediately. That decision came after a hours-long, closed-door meeting that involved team owners and president Brad Stevens, according to Charania.

Earlier on Thursday, Stevens and other members of the Celtics front office reportedly met with players at the team facility.

In a statement shared on Twitter by ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Udoka issued an apology to Celtics players, the organization and fans for his actions.

“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.”

The Celtics noted in the suspension announcement that a decision will be made on Udoka’s future with the club beyond the upcoming season “at a later date.” Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reports there were “no guarantees made to Udoka” in his conversations with the team about being brought back after the suspension.

Reports of impending discipline for Udoka first surfaced Wednesday night when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Boston had been contemplating a “significant suspension” for Udoka for an “unspecified violation of organizational guidelines.” Later that night, Charania reported that the 45-year-old violated the team’s code of conduct by engaging in an “improper intimate and consensual relationship” with a female staffer.

With Udoka’s suspension now official, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over interim head coach, per Wojnarowski. Mazzulla, one of Boston’s top assistants, has never held a head coaching job in the NBA and has previously served as the coach of the franchise’s Summer League team.

The Celtics will now have a quick turnaround until the start of the season, which includes the opening of training camp on Sept. 27. Boston will begin the 2022–23 campaign on Oct. 18 at home against the 76ers.

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