Former NBA forward turned media personality Matt Barnes is backing off his criticism of the Boston Celtics for suspending head coach Ime Udoka over a reported affair with a staff member.
Barnes, 42, originally criticized the suspension decision on Thursday, only to reverse course on Friday when he learned ‘all the facts’, which he says are ‘100 times uglier than any of us thought’.
Udoka was suspended Thursday night for the upcoming 2022-23 season for “multiple” violations of team rules. Since then, ESPN, The Athletic and The Associated Press have reported that Udoka was having an inappropriate but consensual relationship with a female member of the team’s staff.
However, The Athletic raised questions about the relationship on Thursday night, reporting that the woman accused Udoka of making “unwelcome comments” to her, prompting the Celtics to release internal interviews that ultimately led to his suspension.
Former NBA forward turned media personality Matt Barnes is backing off his criticism of the Celtics for suspending head coach Ime Udoka over a reported affair with a staff member.
On Friday, in a self-photographed Instagram video, Barnes explained that he deleted his previous post criticizing the decision because he got more information.
“Since I’m part of the media now, and I try not to be like everyone else, I try to report with facts and honesty, and clearly I have to say that, without knowing all the facts, I spoke in defense of Ime Udoka, and after to find out the facts after I spoke, I deleted what I posted because this situation in Boston is deep, it’s messy, it’s 100 times uglier than any of us thought,” Barnes told the camera while driving his car.
‘And that’s why I deleted what I said. Some things happened that I can’t condone, I can’t endorse, and it’s not up to me to tell you what happened. If it ends up leaving, it ends up leaving. But that was the reason I deleted my post last night, because after I posted it, I got a call from someone who had all the details, and shit is deep.
Barnes went on to say that he hopes the blogs that picked up his first post on the subject will see that he is backing down on his criticism of the Celtics.
“I saw a lot of blogs pick up what I said, even though it was only on the page for two minutes, so I hope they pick this up too, because I messed up and jumped without the facts,” he said.
Udoka, the Celtics’ second-year head coach with an excellent reputation, was suspended for the entire upcoming season Thursday for “multiple” unspecified violations of team rules.
Reports say the 45-year-old had an inappropriate but consensual relationship with a female member of the team’s staff, but that hardly explains why Udoka is sidelined for 2022-23, and potentially longer. In the team statement that named assistant Joe Mazzulla as interim coach, Boston said Udoka’s future would be determined “at a later date.”
Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce said the Udoka should be fined and not suspended
The situation is perplexing, not only because Boston is letting go of a coach who guided the team to the NBA Finals in his first season, but also because the Celtics have turned a seemingly private and supposedly consensual relationship into a public affair. something that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has taken over on Friday.
“My problem is that his personal business gets advertised all over the airways,” Smith said, while questioning why a suspension was necessary.
Celtics legend Paul Pierce also argued on Twitter that Udoka’s punishment “should just be a fine, not a suspension.”
Complicating matters further is Udoka’s shady relationship with Long.
A report, from Bally Sports, claims the pair were ‘separated before the current issue’, but the two appeared to be on good terms in May, when the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air tweeted a video of her dancing in celebration. since her Celtics qualified for the Finals.
Then there was Udoka’s own statement on Thursday, which made a cryptic reference to disappointing his loved ones: “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down.”
The Celtics were poised to open training camp Tuesday as a logical favorite to reach the Finals once again, and potentially contend for an NBA-record 18th championship.
Instead, Boston now grapples with questions of leadership, while Udoka struggles to save his once-promising career.
Stephen A. Smith was very upset with the way the Celtics handled the reported Ime Udoka matter.