Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Boston Celtics suspended the head coach for the entire season for violating the team's policies. CBC Sports

The defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka after a month-long investigation by an outside law firm that found several violations of the team’s policies, but did not point to a larger cultural problem of sexual misconduct. , owner Wiik Grosbeck said on Friday.

“We go a long way in keeping the organization running from harassment or any unwanted attention, with the central core value of respect and freedom in the workplace,” Grosbeck said at a news conference. “It sounds great to me, one of a kind. It’s my personal belief. But I have to verify it.”

Neither Grossbeck nor President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens would elaborate on the specifics of the breach or the personal report the team was given two days ago. But a person with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not made public, told The Associated Press that it involved an inappropriate relationship with a woman from the organization.

A Celtics spokeswoman said Friday that a woman was involved in several of Udoka’s violations. No one else in the organization is facing the discipline, Grosbeck said, adding that the team will be vigilant to make sure Udoka’s actions are not a sign that there is a bigger problem.

“I personally don’t believe they are a profound sign,” Grosbeck said. “But we will – I personally – talk to the members of the organization to make sure this is the case.”

Udoka, a first-year coach who has been removed from traveling to the NBA Finals for three months, was suspended less than a week after he was among the favorites to win training camp this entire season. was considered one. Assistant Joe Mazulla was promoted to interim coach until June 30, 2023; The Celtics say they have not decided on Udoka’s future since then.

The Celtics said a decision about Udoka’s future with the franchise beyond the upcoming season would be made at a later date. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Stevens became emotional while discussing the impact of the scandal on the team – especially the women who were likely included on social media. The team reached out to the staff for support.

“We have a lot of talented women in our organization. I thought yesterday was really hard on them,” Stevens said. “Nobody Can Control Twitter Speculation, Massive [expletive]But I think we as an organization have a responsibility to make sure that we are there to support them right now. Because a lot of people were dragged wrongly into it.”

‘Something important needs to be done’

Grosbeck said the team became aware of the problem earlier this summer and immediately brought in an outside law firm to investigate. After receiving the report, Grossbeck met with Udoka and he “expressed acceptance and appreciation for how it has been handled.”

Grossbeck would not say that the suspension was not paid, but confirmed that it comes with a “significant financial penalty”. The one-year suspension is unusual but not unprecedented for a professional sports coach, but the lack of public details about Udoka’s behavior has prompted some – including Celtics Hall of Famer Paul Pierce – to question. To whether it was too serious.

Grosbeck disagreed, and said that Udoka accepted the sentence and apologized.

“I personally feel that this is well warranted and justified, supported by substantial research and evidence and facts,” the owner said. “It was clear that something important needed to be done. And it was.”

Mazulla, 34, led West Virginia to victory at the 2007 NIT Tournament and upset ninth-place Duke in the following year’s NCAA. His only head coaching experience was a two-year stint at Division II Fairmont State in West Virginia from 2017-19.

Stevens said, “Joe is going to be in charge. It’s not an easy time for him or the rest of the staff, but he is an exceptionally quick and talented guy.” “It’s going to be an incredible challenge, but I really have faith in the team and the coaching staff who go on the court on Tuesday. It’s not what we expected, but I have a lot of confidence in them.”

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