As pointed out by HotNewHipHop, the polarizing ESPN reporter criticized the way in which the controversy was handled. Smith explained his position during a red carpet event for The Best Man: The Final Chapters, which co-stars Udoka’s ex-fiancée Nia Long. Smith reiterated his claims that infidelity and fraternization were common within the NBA, which is why he couldn’t understand why the Udoka scandal received so much public attention.
“I know of many instances where individuals have had situations occur within the organization and it was never publicized,” Smith told Entertainment Tonight. “It was never a press conference. It was never anything that was broadcast publicly about it. But suddenly, in this situation, it was. If I’m [Long], I’m furious for a multitude of reasons, obviously. But especially that one.”
He continued, “It was never something that should’ve been publicized. I’m a sports reporter, and I’m telling you it was none of our business. We had no business knowing all the things we knew.”
Long was asked about Smith’s comments later in the night, and said she completely agreed with his stance.
“Absolutely, 100 percent, he was the first person who said it. I agree with it,” the actress said. “I think it’s been incredibly difficult for me to manage, you know, all of that while working and trying to be a mom and trying to…I’m trying to find the humanity in all of it. It just feels like no one thought of me and my children. There was no protection. I think the Celtics were irresponsible, and it was hurtful. It really was, because we were welcomed in as family.”
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People reports Long and Udoka have decided to end their 13-year relationship, with a source confirming that the couple is “no longer together but remain fully committed to co-parenting their son.”
“The situation is unfortunate and painful, but Nia is focusing on her children and rebuilding her life,” the insider added.
Back in September, the Celtics suspended Udoka for the entire 2022-23 NBA season after it was discovered that he had a consensual, improper relationship with a team staffer.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement at the time. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
The breakup news comes days after Long discussed Udoka’s scandal in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. Though she did not reveal her relationship status, Long blamed the Celtics organization for how it handled the controversy.
“I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” Long said. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women—I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”
Long and Udoka began dating in 2010, before welcoming their first and only child together in 2011. The couple got engaged in June 2015, though they never got around to tying the knot.