Retired NBA forward Matt Barnes has retracted earlier statements in which he criticized the Boston Celtics basketball team for suspending head coach Ime Udoka over an alleged affair with an unidentified female employee.
Barnes, 42, originally criticized the suspension on Thursday but changed course on Friday after learning ‘all the facts’, which he says are ‘100 times uglier than any of us thought’ and added that the truth behind the scandal is much worse than the public currently knows.
He made the updated comments in an Instagram story, claiming that he had initially believed the media had exaggerated the severity of the allegations.
Udoka was suspended Thursday night for the upcoming 2022-23 season for “multiple” team rule violations, involving a single team staff member.
ESPN, The Athletic and The Associated Press have since reported that Udoka was having an inappropriate but consensual relationship with the woman.
Barnes took to Instagram once again and made his position clear in a long and confusing video message.
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.
‘Last night I talked about this situation without having all the facts and I think that as part of the media, often the media talk about something and when they are wrong they don’t come out and say it. And since I’m part of the media now and I try not to be like everyone else, I try to report and speak factually and honestly…’ Barnes began.
“Clearly I have to say that last night, without knowing all the facts, I spoke in defense of Ime Udoka and after finding out the facts, after speaking, I deleted what I posted,” he explained.
“This situation in Boston is deep, it’s messy, and it’s 100 times uglier than any of us thought. That’s why I deleted what I said. Some things happened that I can’t forgive, I can’t stand behind,” Barnes guessed.
It’s not for me to tell you what happened. If it ends up leaving, it ends up leaving. That’s the reason why I deleted what I posted last night. After I posted it, I got a call from someone who had all the details and this shit is deep,” Barnes revealed.
‘Man, I’m praying for everyone involved. I hope everyone gets through this. I saw a lot of blogs pick up what I said, even though it was only on the page for about two minutes, so I hope they pick this up too, because I was wrong and jumped without the facts. God bless you.’
Questions arose about the relationship Thursday night, with The Athletic 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.
It was a complete reversal of Barnes’ earlier musings in which he seemed to make the case and pointed out how they were commonplace in professional sports franchises.
“I played in the league for a long time. Anyone in the league could tell you this is a very common situation. This is not new news for people who have been in the league or in organizations. I’ve seen it from owners to executives, coaches, players, trainers, therapists, dancers, public relations. This is not uncommon,’ she stressed.
Nia Long with fiancée Ime Udoka in 2017. He has been suspended as head coach of the Boston Celtics for an inappropriate relationship with an employee, despite being engaged to Long.
Earlier on Friday, Fresh Prince of Bel Air actress Nia Long broke her silence about the affair.
The star told TMZ in a statement that she was “shocked” by the affair, which comes as she moves to Boston to be with her longtime boyfriend.
Long, 51, and Udoka, who previously played for the San Antonio Spurs, had been together for more than a decade.
They got engaged in 2015 but have never been married, although they share a ten-year-old son. She also has another son from a previous relationship.
This week, his family’s happiness was shattered when Udoka was suspended by the Boston Celtics for violating ethics rules by having a consensual affair with the unidentified staff member.
It is believed that this is how Long discovered the infidelity.
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and community during this difficult time means the world to me,” Long said through his spokesman.
‘I ask that my privacy be respected as I process recent events.
“Above all, I am a mother and I will continue to focus on my children,” she 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.
In a statement Thursday night, he said: “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 such a difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision.
“Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
Long with the couple’s ten-year-old son recently
Long, 51, and Udoka, 45, have been together for more than a decade. They are shown together at the Barclays Center in New York last August
Disbelief: Nia’s fans and friends tweeted their anger and disbelief on Friday
Udoka is said to have suffered a ‘significant financial penalty’, although the amount has not been disclosed.
The 45-year-old is said to have had an inappropriate relationship with a female member of staff.
That woman has not been named.
In the team statement that named assistant Joe Mazzulla as interim coach, Boston said Udoka’s future would be determined “at a later date.”
Long became a household name with her role on Fresh Prince of Bel Air as Lisa Wilkes, Will Smith’s girlfriend.
He also starred in Boyz In The Hood, Soul Food, and Big Momma’s House.
The beloved actress has also received three NAACP Image Awards and a Black Reel Award.
As news of the affair spread on social media this week, Long’s fans and celebrity friends jumped to his defense.
Many berated Udoka for her indiscretion and asked how she could have betrayed the actress, a universally popular star and one of the most beautiful actresses of her generation.
‘Sending nothing but love to Nia Long.
We will not allow a man, who did not recognize the luxury that was his presence, to obscure all his beauty and glory.
‘In fact, we need a Nia Long national holiday!’ New York Congressman Jamaal Bowmann tweeted.
“Nia Long has a 100% approval rating with Black America and Ime Udoka is about to understand that,” added film producer Van Lathan.
‘Cheating on Nia Long? The end of days has to be upon us because there is NO WAY,” producer Nina Parker added.
American girlfriend: Far from achieving fame in roles such as Lisa Wilkes in Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Brandi in Boyz In The Hood. She is well known for staying away from scandal and only appears in the press for her acting roles or her activism.
Udoka joined the Celtics as head coach in the 2021-2022 season.
While she settled in, Nia and her ten-year-old son remained in New York City, where they live in Brooklyn.
However, sources say she was planning to move to Chicago to support her fiancé and had been house hunting this week.
He became a national treasure in the 1990s with his roles in films and television shows that celebrated black culture and featured predominantly black actors.
Long is also known for staying scandal-free: Fans noted on Friday that she only appeared in the press for her acting roles or activist causes.
Udoka joined the Celtics as head coach last year. He is shown, left, playing for the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.