The verdict on Ime Udoka‘s moral code-breaking is in.
The Boston Celtics coach has been suspended for the entire 2022-23 season, effective immediately. Thursday night, the team announced the news that flooded the timeline all day about Udoka having an intimate relationship with a member of the franchise’s staff.
He hasn’t been fired, but the team says clarification on his future with the team will be determined at a later date, but he’s made it clear that he has no intentions of resigning.
For his transgressions, Udoka released a statement to ESPN‘s Malika Andrews, saying sorry for his actions and the rippling effects they’ll have on his personal and professional life.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in the statement. “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.”
While it may seem a hefty price to pay for a morality rule, it seems not to be so cut and dry as The Athletic’s Sham Charania reveals that the Celtics organization became aware of the relationship in July but only launched an investigation when Udoka began making unwanted comments toward her.
Suspending a sitting coach is a move unlike any other the league has seen before. After stints as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets, Udoka was hired as Boston’s head coach in June of 2021. He then led the new-look Boston Celtics to the finals for the first time since 2010 though they’d ultimately lose 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors.
The defending Eastern Conference champions will now be headed up by one of Boston’s brightest assistant coaches Joe Mazzulla, who coached the franchise’s Summer League.
Boston’s season kicks off October 18 at home against the 76ers.
Here’s how everyone reacted to Udoka allegedly cheating on Nia Long when the news broke: