Stephen A. Smith Says He Feels That Boston Celtics Coach Ime Udoka’s Cheating Scandal ‘Was An HR Matter’ & Shouldn’t Have Been Publicized: It’s None Of Our Business
Boston Celtics Coach Ime Udoka’s infidelity shouldn’t have been talked about in the media, according to ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith.
During a sit-down with “The Breakfast Club,” Stephen A. Smith opened up about his views on Ime Udoka’s suspension from the renowned NBA team and why he believes that the issue should’ve been kept under wraps.
If you didn’t know, last month, Ime Udoka, fiancé and baby’s father of actress Nia Long, made headlines after it was revealed that he’d been temporarily let go as the head Celtics coach for violating team policy. Udoka’s dismissal was reportedly due to his participation in a consensual sexual relationship with a female staff member.
Since the revelation, quite a few public figures have spoken out, while others have opted to remain neutral–including basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. Recently, Shaquille O’Neal briefly addressed the unfortunate circumstances on his show, The Big Podcast With Shaq, and, in doing so, he made it clear that he didn’t feel as though he was in any position to speak on Udoka’s situation.
He transparently said,
“I am going to step down from this conversation. I was a serial cheater. It would be crazy and blasphemous for me to get up here and say, ‘Boom, boom, bam.’ I can’t do that. I know these guys personally. I know they’re going through a lot because I went through a lot.”
Shaquille O’Neal married his ex-wife, Shaunie, in 2002. Together, they share four children. The Lakers icon’s alleged marital mess-ups were ultimately broadcasted amid the early seasons of the infamous VH1 series, Basketball Wives, which featured Shaunie, who also served as an executive producer of the franchise.
Following “The Breakfast Club’s” mention of O’Neal’s comments on Udoka’s cheating scandal, Stephen A. Smith added to that, giving his input from an insider’s perspective. In fact, although not excusing Udoka’s actions, he even believes that the controversy behind the initial story belonged off of the court and into the offices of the higher-ups… instead.
Stephen A. Smith said:
“You don’t want to be a hypocrite, but, in the same breath, if you’re sitting in that chair–and all of y’all can relate to this, with the great show y’all been doing for years–you gotta call it like you see it. And what we gotta do is we gotta be careful. You can talk about an incident without talking about the person. But I touched on it from a different angle. There’s no excuse for [Ime Udoka] to find himself in that position that he was in.”
“But… my position, religiously, was it’s none of our business. There’s no reason, on earth, that you can justify to me why the Boston Celtics had that press conference, why we’re having this discussion. That was an HR matter! I’ve been covering sports for almost thirty years. I’m telling you, every year, there are stories like this! Every year. You don’t see it being discussed. You hear about the cat getting fired, and you hear rumors as to why, but you don’t know. It’s not validated by the organization.”
Smith then doubled down on why he brought up Udoka’s race as a factor.
“I took it a step further, and I mentioned his Blackness. Only from this perspective; you kept it him, you retained him, you didn’t fire him. That means, no one has the right to come and get him. You suspended him, but it was indefinite. You said, ‘I’ma suspend you for a year, but then, after the year, we’re gonna look into it.’ I mean, that’s BS! Alright? You probably docked half his pay, because that’s what my sources told me, you docked half his pay. And I’m like… so, he can’t work; he can’t go elsewhere. You docked half his pay; his future’s up in arms, and you publicized his personal business!”
The 54-year-old added,
“[Udoka] might’ve violated organizational policy and all that, but [the report] said consensual. Essentially, all of this has happened because of a consensual relationship. Now, we don’t know [the other woman’s] status, and even if we did, we can’t say, because, you know, they haven’t revealed that information. You know, you can get sued for stuff like that. But, here’s what I know about him, he ain’t married, and it was a consensual relationship, according to y’all.”
According to sources, Nia Long was said to have been completely blindsided by Udoka’s work affair. When spotted (by paparazzi) having a day out with her son, without her engagement ring, Nia Long chuckled at the question of any chances of reconciliation between the pair but didn’t have much else to say about it.
However, her older son’s father, Massai Z. Dorsey, indicated that Long is still offering “unconditional love” to Udoka in the face of adversity.
“We talk as a family, and it’s all about unconditional love, and that’s what she’s giving him. We’re sticking by him 100%. All I could say is good things about Ime. He’s a good man. All these years. I’m happy he’s in my son’s life.”
Of course, it’s unclear on what Long’s next moves are, but we’re hoping all ends well for all parties involved.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!