Celtics need to give their players more answers on Ime Udoka

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Interim Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla spent the bulk of his Media Day press conference Monday stressing the importance of giving players time to heal in the aftermath of Ime Udoka’s shocking yearlong suspension.

But that can only happen if the players know what actually transpired. Right now, they’re in the dark.

The media whiffed on the Ime Udoka story

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That has to change, or the season could be lost before it even starts.

The blame for this mess begins with Udoka, of course. His apparent actions with a female staffer were so egregious, the Celtics were left with no choice but to suspend him for the whole season just days before training camp. Udoka was hired to lead, and utterly failed, devastating his team in the process.

That’s why it was tough to hear Marcus Smart describe the situation as “something unfortunate that happened” to Udoka, as if he’s just encountered some bad luck. The disgraced head coach reportedly made “unwanted comments” to a female staffer, and that might just be the start of the story. Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck confirmed Friday that Udoka committed multiple violations of team policy.

But it’s hard to blame Smart for his favorable framing, because the players seemingly possess as much concrete knowledge about Udoka as the rest of us: very little.

Jaylen Brown said multiple times he wishes he knew more.

“I’ll say it again: I wish we had more details,” Brown told reporters. “From what we know, it’s hard to make a decision based upon whether it’s consensual or not in the workplace or whatever’s going on, which we’ve known has happened before in the workplace. But I guess there’s more to it than possibly [has been reported]. I don’t know. I don’t have all the details. It’s not being shared with me.”

Jayson Tatum said he found out about the story on Twitter, “like everybody else.”

That’s bad management. Perhaps the Celtics were caught off-guard when news of their investigation into Udoka leaked last Wednesday night, but they reportedly knew about the situation in July. Along the way, they learned about Udoka’s unwanted advances, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

It’s understandable if the Celtics wanted to limit the number of people with knowledge of the ugly situation. But training camp starts this week. If the news hadn’t leaked, when were they going to tell the players?

When were they planning to discipline Udoka?

For legal reasons, the Celtics are almost certainly limited in what they can say publicly. But they don’t owe the public a detailed explanation. The players are different.

They deserve more transparency than they’re receiving.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports