An emotional Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics co-owner and CEO, Wyc Grousbeck, held a press conference today to discuss the news that Ime Udoka will be suspended for the 2022-23 NBA season just days ahead of Media Day and training camp.
Early in the conference, Wyc Grousbeck stated that they wouldn’t dive into details for the sake of privacy for all those involved, but there were still details that could be ascertained through some of the responses that followed as questions were allowed. Before questions came into the equation, Grousbeck revealed that an independent law firm was brought in to thoroughly and impartially investigate the case as soon as the team was made aware in July.
This speaks to accusations that either the team did nothing when they first knew. According to Grousbeck’s statement, the team took immediate action to get to the bottom of this. The investigation officially concluded two days ago, which is when Adrian Wojnarowski’s breaking news alert surfaced. Brad Stevens expressed sincere regret for how the internet ran with the leaked news and how that affected female staffers in the organization.
This speaks to the accusations that the Celtics leaked information instead of keeping things “in house” as many have speculated.
Wyc Grousbeck and Brad Stevens took firm stances against that behavior, with the latter even cursing on national television while expressing his thoughts.
Brad Stevens getting choked up during his statement: "We have a lot of talented women in our organization and I thought yesterday was really hard on them...We have a responsibility in our organization to support them since a lot of people unfairly were dragged into that."— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) September 23, 2022
While not offering too many details on specifics, Grousbeck confirmed that Ime Udoka committed multiple violations of team policies. Additionally, the suspension will come with “significant financial penalty.” No decisions about Udoka’s future were offered, and the Celtics maintained that they will discuss his ultimate future with the team beyond the suspension at a later date. Udoka apparently demonstrated “acceptance and appreciation” of how matters were handled.
On the suspension front, no other members of the Celtics organization are facing any penalties of any sort. Grousbeck offered that he will be meeting with female staffers to make sure that they feel supported.
Grousbeck also mentioned that he does not believe there to be widespread issues with the team culture beyond this individual issue. In fact, he mentioned that this should serve as a reminder of the importance of proper workplace conduct.
On the coaching front, Brad Stevens quickly denied any desire or conversation about returning to the bench to coach this group. Instead, he offered full support in interim head coach Joe Mazzulla.
Naturally, this led to questions about Joe Mazzulla’s domestic battery case from 2009. In response, Brad Stevens spoke to confidence in Mazzulla’s character, stating that he thoroughly investigated the matter when Mazzulla was hired to the staff in 2019.
Stevens on Mazzulla's history: "That shaped him into who he is today and a good way. He is 110 percent accountable for that. I believe in him."— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) September 23, 2022
At this point, the organization has made its stance clear on support for Joe Mazzulla’s character and growth over the last 13 years. What’s left is for Mazzulla himself to speak to it as he’s asked questions about it on Monday afternoon’s Media Day.
Stevens noted that the players are upset about the situation, but he noted that he’s confident that they’ll take the court as a united team starting Tuesday when training camp begins ahead of a challenging campaign for a championship. This clearly will not be resolved today, and it will most certainly loom over the organization for an uncertain amount of time.
We’ll get more information in the days to come.