Ime Udoka reportedly used crude language prior to beginning ‘improper relationship’ with woman

Udoka's conduct reportedly gives him a "difficult pathway" to return to the Celtics.

Ime Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for the entire upcoming season. Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Some more details have trickled out on why Ime Udoka received a full-year suspension from the Celtics.

Udoka used crude language with a female subordinate before beginning an “improper relationship” with the woman, an independent law firm’s investigation found according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The investigation said that Udoka’s crude language was “especially concerning coming from a workplace superior,” Wojnarowski reported.

With Udoka suspended for the entire season due to his actions, there is a “difficult pathway” for him to return as the Celtics’ coach, but Boston wouldn’t “stand in the way” of Udoka becoming a coach elsewhere, Wojnarowski added.


Udoka’s suspension is currently effective through June 30, 2023. However, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck said on Sept. 23 that there wasn’t a guarantee the team would reinstate Udoka following that date.

“We’ll make a decision at a later time about Ime’s future with us and that will be discussed at another time and hasn’t been decided at this point,” Grousbeck said.

The Celtics’ investigation into Udoka closed on Sept. 21, when it was first reported that Udoka was facing a suspension due to violating team policy, Grousbeck said at the press conference. Grousbeck said he hired an outside law firm “as soon as we learned there was a potential situation.”

“The investigation had some twists and turns,” Grousbeck said. “It took some time to develop all the facts. It finally concluded — for now, everything concluded two days ago.”

Grousbeck noted that the investigation found that Udoka committed multiple violations of the team’s conduct policy.

Udoka’s suspension is considered to be unprecedented considering that it came from the team due to off-court matters on top of the fact that he helped the Celtics reach the NBA Finals in his first season. Grousbeck defended his decision to suspend Udoka for a season.


“This felt right, but there’s no clear guidelines for any of this,” Grousbeck said. This is really conscience and gut-feeling and being here 20 years. I’m responsible for the decision, ultimately, but I took a lot of advice from partners, like Brad and others, and we collectively came to this and got there. It was not clear what to do. But it was clear something substantial needed to be done in my view — and it was.”

Grousbeck didn’t confirm or deny if Udoka received a fine in addition to the suspension, but also said that “the suspension comes with a very significant penalty when you net it all out.”

Wojnarowski also reported Friday that teams have already “tried to gather a preliminary understanding of the full explanation” for Udoka’s suspension as they possibly evaluate him for potential job openings.


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