April 16, 2024

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith likens Celtics suspending coach Ime Udoka to police brutality

The Boston Celtics suspended Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season after it was revealed he had allegedly had an affair with a subordinate in the organization.

However, despite saying he should have been fired (the Celtics took the interim tag off Joe Mazzulla’s title earlier Thursday), Stephen A. Smith was not thrilled with how the organization handled the controversy.

Speaking with Jay Williams on “First Take” on ESPN, the two shared the thought that the Celtics “could’ve handled it differently,” but Udoka’s race played a role into the matter.


“They put him on front street. With his personal business, and I happen to know many occasions where that never happened to people who look a lot differently than me or you,” Smith said. “This is where I make people uncomfortable, and I don’t give two damns about it. Y’all full of it, and it really ticks me off with that.”

Smith added “we cannot absolve Ime Udoka” but did go a step further, going as far as to compare Udoka’s suspension to police brutality against Black people in America.

“What we can do is point out the inconsistency. When you talk about Black folks and what we’re really aspiring for, what you’re talking about fair and equal treatment. Not just under the law but period. No matter what may disgust us as a people, if you do to everybody, what you do to us, we gon’ go like this: β€˜that’s the way it goes.’


“When we talk about police brutality, what are we talking about here? We’re talking about the fact you see unarmed Black men getting shot, but White folks shooting at cops, and they get arrested. Murdering folks, and they getting arrested. Getting stopped at Burger King, for crying out loud. The inequity of the treatment is what we’re talking about. Obviously, a case like this has nothing to do with the violence I just brought up.

“But we’re talking about the inequity, the inequality, the inconsistency, and the flagrant hypocrisy that exists out in this world. And y’all gon’ sit up here, and everybody just say, β€˜Ime Udoka shouldn’t have done it.’ Damn right, he shouldn’t have done it! Damn right, he should be fired! Fine! I’m good with it, no problem.”

The Celtics went to the NBA Finals last season, which was Udoka’s first season as a head coach. They are 42-17 with Mazzulla, good for first place in the Eastern Conference.

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