New details have emerged surrounding Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s “improper” relationship with a staff member, which on Thursday led to him being suspended for the entire 2022-23 season.
News broke of the scandal broke on Thursday, with reports that the coach had a consensual affair with a female member of the Celtics’ staff. However, The Athletic reported that the team became aware of the relationship all the way back in July – and it was only after Udoka made “unwanted comments” toward the woman that they got involved.
The team launched a set of internal interviews, and after a closed-door meeting on Thursday with team owners and president Brad Stevens (who, notably, was the team’s last head coach), they made the decision to suspend Udoka for the whole season.
Udoka accepted the team’s ruling in a statement he released Thursday night.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” the statement read. “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 hired as the Celtics’ head coach in the 2021 offseason and led the team to the NBA Finals in his first season in charge, eventually losing in six games to the Golden State Warriors. Previously, he spent a year as an assistant coach with the Nets, as well as stints with the 76ers and Spurs.
Udoka has been in a relationship with actress Nia Long since 2010, and the pair share a son together. They have been engaged since 2015, but have yet to tie the knot.