Celtics suspend Ime Udoka for relationship with female staff member


Courtesy/ Wikimedia Commons

Celtics’ coach suspended for having innapropriate relationship with staff membber

Vincent Callahan, Crier Staff

This upcoming year looked very promising for the Boston Celtics. Coming off a 4-2 finals loss against the Golden State Warriors, the Celtics are looking for a bounce-back year to finally go all the way. They brought in some extra help to put them over the edge by trading for Malcolm Brodan in the summer as well as by bringing in Danillo Gallinari and, now, Blake Griffin. Head Coach Ime Udoka, who headed the Celtics’ turn around mid-season and trip to the finals in his first year, won the most game 7s as a rookie coach in NBA history. Things were looking high for the Celtics, until news broke last week that Udoka could be facing a season-long suspension from the team. 

This happened when the beloved head coach had an intimate relationship with someone in the organization. The organization decided to go through with their suspension and suspend the coach for the entirety of the 2022-2023 NBA season. They moved assistant coach, Joe Mazulla, who has been with the team for three years, to be interim head coach.

The players themselves had no idea what was really going on, with some finding out over social media. Current DPOY Marcus Smart commented on the situation saying, “Nobody really knows anything, so we’re just in the wind like everybody else. The last couple days, as far as this, it’s been confusing.” Jayson Tatum, one of the many stars on the team, said he found out the news through Twitter. Jaylen Brown, another Celtics star, said, “Not a lot of information has been shared, so there’s a lot of confusion going around, a lot of speculation going around, which makes it difficult on the guys who have been here and the guys who are here now.” People on Twitter were trying to get to the bottom of this and dug up pictures of female staff members within the Celtics organization. Brad Stevens spoke about these speculations, stating that these women were dragged into this unfairly. Amanda Pflugrad, one of the aforementioned women, said, “Seeing uninvolved people’s names thrown around in the media, including mine, with such carelessness is disgusting. This is a step backwards for women in sports who have worked hard to prove themselves in an industry they deserve to be in.”

Former NBA player Matt Barnes spoke on the matter. Although he originally defended the head coach, he soon came out and said that the situation was way worse than he thought. Barnes stated, “But, like I heard it’s not about what he did, it’s about who he did it [with] that is really going to kind of flip the game upside down when it comes to this instance…”. He continued on by saying, “This is not something that’s only the NBA. This happens in the workplace all around. But like I said, it’s not so much the act.” 

Reports came out that Udoka had a relationship with a staff member who makes the travel plans for the team. The organization conducted an investigation into the incident, which found that Udoka also made unwanted comments to them with whom he had a relationship. The owner of the Celtics, Wyc Grousbeck, came out and said that the punishment was deserved due to the evidence they uncovered in their investigation.