Professional sports leagues have seen an uptick in off-the-field scandals.
That comes hand in hand with much more media scrutiny.
And an NBA sex scandal might have ruined one coach’s future for good.
The Boston Celtics suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire season after he admitted to having an affair with a woman who worked within the organization.
The exact details of the affair have not been publicly stated, but it was apparently bad enough for Udoka to accept a year-long suspension and apologize for his behavior.
Udoka said in a statement, “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. 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.”
Despite the ugly affair and suspension, rumors surfaced that Udoka was a finalist for the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job after the organization fired Steve Nash, who struggled to wrangle the superstars on the roster.
“The Brooklyn Nets are finalizing a deal to hire suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, and a formal agreement is expected soon, sources told ESPN. After parting with coach Steve Nash, the Nets are bringing back Udoka to try and salvage a reeling franchise amid turmoil and a 2-6 start to the season. Boston is not requiring draft compensation from Brooklyn to hire Udoka, but there are discussions that are taking place before a deal can be finalized, sources said…Boston suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 season for an improper relationship with a subordinate before training camp, but sources say the Celtics never planned to stand in the way of Udoka accepting another coaching job.”
However, rumors of Udoka’s hiring triggered backlash from women’s groups as well as women within the Nets’ organization.
New England Sports Network reported that “the Brooklyn Nets irked many outside their organization last week for their reported interest in hiring Ime Udoka as the team’s next head coach. It now appears those sentiments are shared by some within the franchise, too. One day after NBA insider Marc Stein reported there have been ‘strong voices’ urging Nets owner Joe Tsai to back off Udoka as the replacement for the recently fired Steve Nash, another report surfaced Monday broadly hinting those who might feel that way. NJ Advanced Media’s Adam Zagoria reported how there has been concern from ‘women in leadership positions’ about the team’s rumored interest in Udoka, as shared by NBA Central on Twitter. Zagoria wrote how Tsai is ‘getting some blowback’ with ‘too much potential drama,’ citing a source.”
One anonymous agent told NBA writer Ethan Sherwood Strauss that Udoka was “done” coaching in the league.
Whatever Udoka did might be bad enough to stop him from getting the Nets job.
Former NBA player and current commentator Matt Barnes, who has a reputation for being a hothead, initially defended Udoka, but rescinded his support after getting behind-the-scenes details.
Barnes said, “Last night, without knowing all the facts, I spoke on Ime Udoka’s defense and after finding out the facts after I spoke, I erased what I posted because this situation in Boston is deep, it’s messy, it’s 100 times uglier than any of us thought.”
Matt Barnes on the situation with ime. He was told what happened and it sounds like it’s pretty bad. pic.twitter.com/PnMZzR2WsW
— Ant ☘️🏀 (@GangCeltics) September 23, 2022
If the Nets back away from hiring Udoka, the rumors of him being too toxic may be true.