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Ime Udoka’s suspension for a season from the Boston Celtics for violating team policies as it pertains to an improper relationship with a woman on the team staff has become the dominant story in the sports world this week, as the presumptive favorite in the Eastern Conference will now go forward without its head coach.
To this point, there aren’t many details on exactly what took place, as the official statements on the matter have been, unsurprisingly, vague given the sensitive nature of the situation, and the reporting beyond that hasn’t offered much beyond Shams Charania noting that Udoka made “unwanted comments” to the woman in question which sparked the team to hire a law firm to investigate the matter.
There were even fewer details on Friday morning prior to the Celtics press conference, but that didn’t stop Stephen A. Smith from offering a vociferous take on the situation and how the Celtics need to answer for allowing this to become public, saying either they should’ve fired him or let him handle it privately.
It certainly seems like, in this clip, Smith had not read the portion of the Charania report that noted there were unwanted comments from Udoka and that this was not just a situation of there being an affair but, clearly, something more. As such, Malika Andrews called into First Take after the Celtics press conference to push back on Stephen A. saying his issue was mostly with Boston, and not Udoka, as well as noting correctly that we clearly don’t have the full picture of the situation, leading to a heated exchange between the two.
Here’s what Malika Andrews said : pic.twitter.com/dhtegNNgcg
— Shannonnn sharpes burner (@shannonsharpeee) September 23, 2022
The full comments by Stephen A. Smith in the exchange with Malika Andrews on First Take:
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 23, 2022
It’s unclear when, if at all, we ever will get clarity, which makes it an impossible subject for a show like First Take to discuss properly. It is not a show where Stephen A. Smith says he doesn’t have all the information and as such will be waiting for that and not making any strong comments until that happens. It’s a show where he is to have a strong opinion on every subject and make headlines. For most things in sports, the worst thing that happens is he might look silly when a player or team proves him wrong on the field or court, but in this case it’s far too serious to be making declarative statements and pointing out blame when there’s just not enough information available.
Making that part clearer is what Matt Barnes posted to his Instagram on Friday, when he explained why he deleted his own tweets backing Udoka in a similar manner as Smith, saying that he spoke to someone who called him immediately and explained the situation, saying it’s much worse than what is out there and he took his tweets down because he was given further information.
“This situation is deep, it’s messy, it’s 100X uglier than any of us thought.”
Matt Barnes on why he deleted his words defending Ime Udoka after becoming more informed on the situation last night
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) September 23, 2022
What this means specifically, we can’t really know right now, but it should be an indicator to the likes of Stephen A. that it might not be the best idea to stake such a strong claim to a side at this point when it’s clear there is much more we don’t know that could make him look very bad for such little upside.