Stephen A. Smith: Celtics should apologize to Nia Long
Stephen A. Smith thinks the Boston Celtics should apologize to Nia Long – and this is the apology Away overdue.
The ESPN host opened up about how the Celtics dealt with Ime Udoka’s suspension as head coach last fall and how their actions impacted his former partner Long posted a video on his Know Mercy with Stephen A. Smith podcast on Friday.
“What about the sister, the black woman named Nia Long, who was thrown to the wolves when all of this was released?” he said in the clip. “Did she deserve this?”
In September 2022, the Celtics suspended Udoka as head coach over an alleged improper relationship with a team member. The team held a press conference earlier this month to discuss the suspension.
Smith argued that the Celtics press conference inadvertently dragged Long, a popular actor, into a media circus. Udoka and Long have been together for 13 years and have a son together, Kez, 11. They have since split.
“If you mention him and another woman, inevitably she will come up,” he said of Long. “How come they just left her out there alone? I will always defend her. I will always defend her in this matter.”
He added, “To hold a press conference and silently or not take your business to Front Street, you didn’t think of Nia Long at all.”
The actor thanked Smith for “his support” in the comments section of an Instagram post where he shared the clip.
Smith urged the Celtics to host the press conference in another clipcharging that race played a role in the way the team treated Udoka, who is black.
“I’ve been covering sport for 30 years, I’ve never seen a press conference to talk about someone’s suspension and everyone knew that because of the leaks that preceded the press conference – although they didn’t say much in the press conference – that it was about his sexual relationship,” he said.
During the team’s September press conference, Brad Stevens, president of basketball operations, addressed speculation circulating on Twitter at the time about which Celtics employee might be implicated in the scandal.
Stevens delivered an emotional message of support for the women in the organization.
“We have a lot of talented women in our organization and I thought yesterday was really tough for them,” he said. “Nobody can control Twitter speculation and rampant bullshit, but I think we have a responsibility as an organization to make sure we’re there to support them now. A lot of people have been unfairly implicated.”
The team did not share details about the circumstances surrounding Udoka’s suspension at the time, saying instead that he had violated team policy.
The Celtics have long criticized the hosting of the press conference. She also shared her disappointment that no one from the organization had reached her amid her public statements in support of Celtics women employees.
“If you’re in the business of protecting women – I’m sorry, nobody from the Celtics organization has called me to see if I’m okay, if my kids are okay. It’s very disappointing,” the actor said told The Hollywood Reporter in December.
“I think the most heartbreaking part of all of this was seeing my son’s face as the Boston Celtics organization decided to go public with a very private situation,” she added. “It was devastating and still is. He still has moments when it’s not easy for him.”
Udoka, now the head coach of the Houston Rockets, said during a news conference this week that he has since been consulting with his son after news of the scandal broke to “help him improve the situation I put him in.” have”.