The Boston Celtics announced on Thursday that coach Ime Udoka has been suspended for one year. The next morning, news of Udoka’s punishment sparked a verbal tussle between two of ESPN’s most popular personalities, Stephen A. Smith and Malika Andrews.
The Celtics didn’t provide many details on what they called a month-long investigation into Udoka, but ESPN has reported sources that the punishment was handed out because the coach had a relationship with a woman. anonymous who works with the organization. Udoka also didn’t say much about it, other than a statement he provided to Andrews in which he apologized to his family and Celtics fans.
Smith discussed Udoka’s suspension from his program First take. The popular host took umbrage that Boston disciplined Udoka without naming the employee he allegedly had a relationship with.
“So only is he in violation of company policy?” said Smith. “The woman who chose to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation? He needs to be mentioned and put on the street? We don’t know who she is.”
His complaint resulted in ESPN host Andrews NBA todayat To telephone First take and criticize Smith for blaming women.
“Stephen A., with all due respect, this is not about pointing fingers. Stop. What struck me at this press conference is that we don’t have all the information here and it frustrated me that the Celtics refused to elaborate or give further details on the exact nature of the rule violation that led to this point,” Andrews said.
She added, “We’re not here, Stephen A., to blame women. That’s not what we’re here for.”
Smith doesn’t seem to have appreciated Andrews’ comments.
“First of all, let me be very clear, I don’t understand where you are coming from. I don’t blame anyone other than Ime Udoka,” Smith said. “The thing is, I said he deserves to be fired if you fire him. If you don’t fire him, don’t fire him. My problem is that this is all made public.”
Andrew tried to intervene as Smith continued to speak, but he cut her off.
“Excuse me. I listened to you,” he said. “You’re the one telling me to quit my show, it’s not happening. Alright. That’s number one. Number two, I already said he deserved to be fired or that he deserved to be there and handle it internally and privately.”
Newsweek has contacted ESPN for comment.