(CNN) — Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has been suspended for the entire NBA season for violating team policy. the organization announced Thursday night.
The team added that a decision on Udoka’s future with the Celtics will be made at a later date. His suspension was effective immediately.
According to ESPN, The Athletic and Boston Globe, Udoka was in a consensual relationship with a female employee of the team.
“I’m sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision,” Udoka told ESPN in a statement, apologizing to the players, fans, the organization and his family .
CNN has reached out to the Celtics for further comment.
Udoka took over the team’s head coaching position from Brad Stevens ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season and coached the Celtics to their first NBA Finals Appearing since 2010 where they lost 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors.
On Friday, Celtics owner Wycliffe “Wyc” Grousbeck and basketball operations president Brad Stevens spoke to the media to discuss Udoka’s suspension.
Grousbeck explained that the decision to suspend Udoka came after the organization engaged a “reputable law firm to conduct an impartial investigation” after learning of the allegations over the summer.
Grousbeck said he believes the season-long suspension – which the owner said will carry a “significant financial penalty” – is “well founded and appropriate, and supported by extensive research and facts.”
He added: “Ime told me personally in a private conversation, the general theme was – I would say – acceptance and appreciation for how this was being handled.”
Grousbeck also stated that players were “very concerned” after speaking to them. “It’s not a welcome development, but they also have energy, focus, commitment and a drive to do really great things this season, I think.”
Stevens choked on the impact the news has had on women in the organization, saying, “We have a lot of talented women in our organization.
“I thought yesterday was really tough for her. Nobody can control Twitter speculation – rampant bulls**t. We as an organization have a responsibility to make sure we support them now because many people have been wrongly taken.”
Gary Washburn, national basketball contributor for the Boston Globe, told John Berman and Brianna Keilar on CNN’s New Day that Udoka may never coach the Celtics again.
“It could have been something that was in his contract,” Washburn said. “You know, ‘You can’t have relationships with members of the organizations, especially those who report to you.’ Unfortunately, coach Udoka broke those laws, broke those rules and now he’s not out of a job, but he’s as close as he can get.
“He will be suspended for a year and the organization has not promised he will be back in 2023-24. They said they’ll review it then so he might never coach the Boston Celtics again.
The Celtics start their season on October 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden in Boston. NBA training camps open next week, with the first preseason games scheduled for a week beginning Friday.
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