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Featured Image Credit: Milan Adzic / Alamy. Marty Jean-Louis / Alamy.
The Boston Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season for violations of team policies.
It is among the harshest punishments handed out to an NBA team coach in recent times.
The team released a statement on social media reading: “The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended Head Coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies.
“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes effect immediately.”
The decision comes amid allegations that the coach had a consensual relationship with a female member of Boston’s staff and broke the organisation's guidelines and code of conduct, according to The Athletic.
Members of the Celtics organisation first became aware of the relationship in July which led to the team launching a set of internal interviews.
A closed-door meeting involved team owners and President Brad Stevens on Thursday (September 22).
Udoka released a statement following the meeting, saying: “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down.
“I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
Udoka took over as head coach for the Boston Celtics in June 2021 and guided them to the NBA Finals, where they lost in six games to the Golden State Warriors.
The 45-year-old was previously the assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets.
With training camp slated to begin next week, Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla was named as the interim head coach in Udoka’s absence.
He will have a little under a month to prepare for the upcoming NBA season which will begin with a home game against the 76ers on October 18.
It’s the second major disciplinary action in the NBA to shake the competition as many weeks.
Last week Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, was suspended for one year after an investigation determined he had fostered a toxic workplace culture at the Suns.
An independent investigation found that he had violated workplace standards with conduct such as ‘racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct’ as well as bullying.