The Media Column: It’s shameful the Celtics waited all day to address Ime Udoka

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early Reporting about Ime Udoka has been grossly irresponsible

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The grossly irresponsible reporting about Ime Udoka
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The Celtics must clean up this Ime Udoka mess.

Now.

On Wednesday night, somebody with knowledge of an internal investigation leaked that Udoka is apparently facing a possible yearlong suspension for what’s been described as a “consensual romantic relationship” with a female staffer.

Wild and irresponsible speculation is filling the vacuum. Rampant rumors are flying about Celtics female employees, and people are trying to out Udoka's partner through online witch hunts.

Letting the news simmer without clarity is reprehensible.

It doesn’t help that Adrian Wojnarowski, who first tweeted the news, hasn’t covered himself in glory, either. He detonated a Woj bomb at 10:35 p.m. Wednesday: “Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing possible disciplinary action – including a significant suspension – for an unspecified violation of organizational guidelines. Discussions are ongoing within the Celtics on a final determination.”

No additional info was offered, though Wojnarowski did include a “breaking news” graphic with his face on it.

A couple of hours later, The Athletic’s Shams Charania, who serves as Woj’s chief NBA Insider rival, tweeted that Udoka carried on “an improper and consensual relationship with a female member of the team’s staff.”

It would’ve been useful if Wojnarowski included those details, or any detail, in his original tweet about the “significant suspension” that Udoka is apparently facing. The fact that Woj didn’t indicates he hadn’t unearthed the story’s details before his late-night missive.

But Shams was on his tail. The self-obsessed basketball reporter who hands out packets to league execs touting his social media reach probably couldn’t stand the idea of being beaten.

Wojnarowski reiterated Charnia’s report around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, but there are still a myriad of holes. A yearlong suspension is an extreme punishment. Last week, the NBA suspended Suns owner Robert Sarver one year for repeatedly using racist, sexist and abusive language in front of team employees throughout his 17-year tenure running the organization.

Does a “consensual romantic relationship” with a team staffer really rise to that level? The NFL suspended Deshaun Watson 11 games for allegedly sexually assaulting more than two dozen women.

Since Udoka’s side almost certainly didn’t leak the story, the unnamed sources spilling ominous gossip to Woj and Shams are probably within the Celtics organization. Stephen A. Smith rightfully lambasted the team Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take.”

“There’s plenty of white folks in professional sports that are doing their thing. I don’t see information out about them,” said Smith. “Ain’t none of our damn business, unless you fire him. But if you keep him, it’s none of our business. It should’ve never been put out there by the Celtics organization, and don’t tell me you didn’t it, because you absolutely did it.”

The clock is ticking on the Celtics to offer clarity. But unfortunately, people often only remember the original story, and not the correction.

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