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#pounditWednesday, October 4, 2023

Stephen A. Smith pulls race card on Celtics over Ime Udoka situation

Stephen A Smith reports from the sideline

Dec 18, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith broadcasts before a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen A. Smith is furious with the Boston Celtics over the way they have handled the Ime Udoka situation, and the ESPN personality believes race is a factor in that.

Udoka is expected to be suspended for the entire 2022-23 season. The 45-year-old coach is said to have violated the Celtics’ code of conduct by having a consensual intimate relationship with another team employee. During Thursday morning’s edition of “First Take,” Smith unloaded on the Celtics for allowing the information about Udoka to get out. He pulled the race card while arguing that the public has no right to know about Udoka’s alleged affair.

“I got news for you, America, there’s plenty of white folks in professional sports that are doing their thing. And I say that not complimentary,” Smith said. “I don’t see the information out about them. Why are we talking about this now? We gotta talk about it because it’s the news. It ain’t none of our damn business — unless you fire him. But if you keep him, it’s none of our business. It should have never been put out there by the Celtics organization.”

Smith added that he is not excusing the behavior “especially if it involves married folks and stuff like that,” but he seems to think the Celtics should not have leaked information about the alleged affair if they are planning to keep Udoka around. He feels the situation is “none of the public’s damn business” if it involves two consenting adults.

We still don’t know exactly what it is that Udoka did, but Smith was talking in circles. Was he saying the Celtics should have just fired Udoka without explanation after he led the team to the NBA Finals? Or, without knowing what the alleged conduct was, is Smith saying it should have been ignored? Even he probably doesn’t know.

One thing is for sure — this is not the first time Stephen A. has pulled the race card.


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