The only thing we know for sure is that Celtics coach Ime Udoka has received a one-year suspension from the organization for reasons relating to a sexual relationship he had with another Celtics employee.
We now know he got busted when the employee’s husband overheard a private conversation on a Ring camera, and we might know who the other person is. Aside from that, there is a lot of conjecture, assumptions, spin, and very, very few hard facts about what Udoka did, about how wanted or unwanted his advances were, or about how many people may or may not have been affected by his behavior.
As the public salivates for new “information,” some media outlets can be tempted to speculate wildly, to put too much trust into sources with agendas, to lean on rumors and conjecture instead of the kind of vetted information that journalists are taught to trust.
In the sports media, it is especially bad. That’s usually because when you’re reporting on something as inconsequential as the goings-on in a game, the stakes are very low. “How does Kevin Durant feel about Kyrie Irving?” is a benign matter, and observing that matter in a superficial way isn’t going to do all that much damage except to maybe Durant and Irving, who are well-compensated for this kind of crap.
But when something like this Udoka thing happens, the sports media is shown to be deeply lacking in the perspective or discipline that it takes to tell this story in a responsible or informative way.
Because this Udoka thing is a sports story, yes, but it’s also a labor story, a story about relationships, and a story about power dynamics inherent to both of those things. And thus far, much of the sports-talking establishment has done a terrible job of framing this in a responsible manner.