“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement following his suspension. “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.”
Athletic reporter Shams Charania revealed via Twitter that Udoka "had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff," which was "deemed a violation of franchise’s code of conduct." The coach has not publicly confirmed or denied the relationship, but did admit to "putting the team in [a] difficult situation," in a statement released on September 23.
Udoka has been suspended for the entire 2022-2023 basketball season, according to a press release by the Boston Celtics. In the meantime, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over his role, per ESPN.
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Will He Be Fired?
"A decision about [Udoka's] future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date," the team said in a statement on September 23. "The suspension takes effect immediately."
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What Did He Say About the Situation?
Shortly after the team confirmed his suspension, Udoka released a statement apologizing to "our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down." He added that he "accept[s]" the team's decision, and will not comment on the situation any further, "out of respect for everyone involved."
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How Did Nia React to the Scandal?
Hours after the news of Udoka's alleged relationship broke, Long shared a cryptic message on her Instagram Story, alongside a video of a peaceful nature scene. “When you see people change their whole life and start walking down a path of enlightenment," the New York native's caption read. "I’m talking about hugging trees, connecting with nature, loving themselves, embracing positivity, letting that light shine."
The following day, she released a statement to Us thanking her "family, friends and the community" for supporting her through this difficult time. “I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events," Long continued. "Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children."
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How Do the Boston Celtics Players Feel?
According to Smart, the team learned about the alleged relationship at the same time as the rest of the world did. "It's been hell for us," he told The Athletic, adding that he and his teammates are "doing our best to cope." Despite the scandal, the Texas native added that the players are choosing to stay focused on their upcoming training camp and the season ahead.
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A Pointed Message?
In October 2022, Long posted a cryptic "mental health" tip via Instagram. "Learn to distinguish who deserves an explanation, who deserves one answer, and who deserves absolutely nothing," read the text-only post.
Has the Woman Been Identified?
Us confirmed in October 2022 that Udoka was involved in an affair with team service manager Kathleen Nimmo Lynch. She did not immediately address the controversy.
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How Does Nia Long Feel About the Celtics' Response?
“I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” the Dear White People alum told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published in December 2022. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”
Long, who pulled Kez out of school after news of his father’s suspension broke, noted that it “felt like my heart had jumped out of my body.” She continued: “And then what I found was this tribe of women and men who were standing up for me in a way that felt like I was in this bubble of protection, and that was very comforting.”