Brad Stevens Was Upset Women In The Celtics Organization Were Dragged Into ‘Rampant Bullsh*t’ On Twitter

When word broke Wednesday night that Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was facing a lengthy suspension for a violation of organizational rules, fans on Twitter speculated wildly about what he had done to earn that kind of punishment from the team just months removed from going to the NBA Finals.

Later that night it was reported that the issue in question was an inappropriate intimate relationship with a woman on the Celtics team staff, but we still were provided with a general lack of details and it only furthered people tweeting out theories of what happened and with whom. That part, where some fans went through the Celtics staff directory and tried to determine what woman was involved was a particularly disgusting subplot of this saga, and it was one that Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens wanted to call out specifically in the team’s press conference on Udoka’s season-long suspension on Friday.

Stevens referred to what the women have had to deal with in being “unfairly dragged” into the public spotlight as “rampant bullsh*t,” and said that it was now incumbent on the organization to support them fully and ensure they’re taken care of in whatever way is needed.

The way this story was reported only worked against the women involved, as the choice of phrasing and lack of firm details made for easy speculation and also a lot of confusion about the severity of the punishment while the details were fuzzy. The initial report from Adrian Wojnarowski simply cited team rules and nothing about a relationship with a staffer, while Shams Charania called it a “consensual” relationship in his first report, only to later report that the woman eventually told the team Udoka made “unwanted comments” towards her which in turn led to the investigation.

The running play-by-play among newsbreakers of the story was not helpful in this instance where people’s lives were being thrown into turmoil and the initial reading from many that this was overly punitive was the result of a lack of details (of which we still don’t have many) that could’ve been avoided in a media climate where getting something first was less important and, particularly in a sensitive situation like this one, getting more details and facts to provide a clearer picture held more emphasis. On top of that, the rush to immediately have a take on the situation, while knowing that there aren’t many facts out there, only exacerbates the issue.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck lamented the way the story was reported via leaks, while denying the Celtics were responsible for those, noting they stood to gain nothing by having the story get out before they could release their statement.

It is unfortunate that a story like this gets reported on in much the same manner as trade rumors, where a trail of crumbs is left on social media for fans to begin piecing together the story in real time rather than simply waiting to gather more complete details out of fear of losing a scoop or the right to say you were first on a story. In this instance, it was innocent women who were not involved in any way being dragged into this situation by name — and, potentially, the victim being aired out — who bear the negative recourse to this story and the reaction to it.