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In the scandals of Favre and Udoka, some see echoes of sports media’s failings

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News of Ime Udoka’s long-term suspension from the Boston Celtics has been dominating the internet since the NBA franchise announced last week that it had violated team policy. But amid the articles and social media posts about the situation, many are wondering why the head coach’s personal indiscretions are getting more attention than seemingly larger ethical misdeeds happening in the news cycle, such as the role played by Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. in the Mississippi welfare scandal. .

For social media users, the difference is striking.

“Can we get more coverage of Brett Favre and less of Ime Udoka,” one? person tweeted on Wednesday. anotherknow how to read“So ESPN can have Ime Udoka all over the news, but barely talk about Brett Favre, that looks and sounds very racist.”

The Celtics have released few details about the circumstances surrounding Udoka’s suspension for the 2022-23 season. But both ESPN and The Athletic reported that Udoka had a consensus”intimate relationship with a womanstaff, who violated the franchise’s code of conduct. Favre, who retired in 2010, is suspected of pressuring Mississippi state officials to spend millions of dollars in federal welfare funds on a college volleyball center where his daughter played the sport, and on a soccer facility.

Favre has not been charged with criminal charges, but he is one of more than 35 people and entities named in a civil suit filed by the state. Recently released text messages, from 2017 and 2019, show that Favre is urging the then government to do so. Phil Bryant and other officials to secure funding for the sports complex from funds that would go to needy families in the state. Bryant has said he was not aware of the plan, and Favre has said publicly that he did not know the funds were welfare dollars and that he believes he did nothing wrong. On Thursday, retired American soccer star Abby Wambach announced she is cutting ties with a Favre-backed company.

Media reports of the former football star’s involvement in the mismanaged welfare funds started in 2020 but were quickly overshadowed last week – and for some exaggerated – by news of Udoka’s suspension. Amid the discourse on the apparent inequality, some critics have pointed out that media coverage may be unbalanced as Favre is retired and Udoka is a star coach, having led Boston to the NBA finals last season, making his situation more newsworthy.

“In the initial coverage of this scandal, it felt like the Brett Favre story was being swept under the rug a little faster than most would like. It came at such an opportune time that this coverage drowned out something far more reprehensible, like stealing from the poor. ,” said Kazeem Famuyide, co-host of “MSG PM”, shown after New York Knicks home games, and creator of the Say less podcast.

“The Udoka story just ticks so many boxes of what we find interesting when it comes to sports. I can almost understand why it was treated differently. This came right at the start of the NBA season,” Famuyide said. “For people covering the media, if it doesn’t necessarily affect what happens on the pitch or on the pitch, they don’t care as much as they probably should. That speaks to the culture that thrives in sports talk.”

When news of the suspension broke last week, social media users were quick to point out that there was more focus on Udoka than Favre. A person tweeted“If you’re more upset about Ime Udoka and the situation of the Celtics than Brett Favre STEALING MILLIONS IN WELFARE MONEY FROM THE EARTHEST PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY IN MISSISSIPPI, then you are part of the problem.” And another added, “Now that Ime Udoka has been officially suspended, it would be great if sports media people would take that energy and shift it to covering Brett Favre who is stealing millions in welfare money from the poorest state in the country.”

Along with questions about the circumstances surrounding the Celtics’ decisionreports and chatter on social media have also focused on Udoka’s fiancé, Nia Longwondering why Udoka would be unfaithful to the beloved actress.

The disparity has also raised questions about whether media outlets portray white athletes and team officials more favorably than black ones. A 2015 study by the University of Missouri found that in sports media a field dominated by white menBlacks are more often than whites portrayed in a ‘negative tone’, with an emphasis on crime.

“It’s hard to ignore the idea that race is a factor in this situation. And much of the blame must be on the Boston Celtics for the premature leaking of this story,” said Raja Rahim, a professor and sports history expert at Appalachian State University.

The franchise has said it will decide Udoka’s future with the team at a later date. And according to Sports Illustrated, officials have not given any guarantee that Udoka will return to the team after his suspension. With that, sports enthusiasts speculate whether this scandal will be the end of Udoka’s NBA coaching career. If so, it would be a disappointment near Udoka’s years-long journey to become head coach, one marked by racial dynamics, Rahim said.

“We can trace this not only in the NBA, but also in the NFL,” Rahim said of the lack of diversity in sports leadership. “This is rooted in pseudoscientific beliefs that exist about black men and their intellectual capacities and abilities.”

After his NBA career ended, Udoka spent nine seasons as an assistant coach in San Antonio, Philadelphia and Brooklyn before being named Boston head coach last year. He noted that Detroit, Cleveland and Indiana had overlooked him when he wanted to fill the position, and “that was difficult,” he said. told Yahoo Sports. Udoka’s plight is common among black candidates seeking a job as head coach. There are currently 15 Black head coaches in the NBA with 30 teams making up half of the league for the first time. But this is a record only recently set in the NBA, which didn’t see its first Black head coach until 1963 when the Celtics hired Bill Russell as player coach.

“You had to outdo or you’d never get the chance again and nobody really talked about that,” said Andre Iguodala, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, according to NBC Sportsrecognizing the hardships Black head coaches face. “It’s like what the headlines looked like, if you’re portraying black coaches historically, it hasn’t been in a fair light. On the other hand, you had that term ‘the good old boys’ club’, where you reuse the names over and over. ‘

Udoka’s hiring was part of a major push in the league to address a lack of diversity among NBA head coaches following the 2020 George Floyd protests. His suspension comes at a time when Black Head basketball coaches, who are historically neglected and overlooked, finally seeing substantial opportunities in the NBA. Rahim agreed, noting that Udoka’s achievements are well documented. In his first year with the Celtics, Udoka led the team to its first NBA final in 12 years. He is credited with turning things around for the team after a poor start to the season.

“In this situation, Ime has not been relieved of the results because he was in a leadership position and should have known the team policy,” Rahim began. “He literally took a Boston Celtics team off to a rocky start to finish the season with a great run. He reached the NBA Finals in his first season as head coach. Now an incident like this overshadows what he was hired for.”

Even Celtics players were shocked by the news of his suspension.

“It’s been hell for us. Just surprised,” Marcus Smart said of the scandal, according to The New York Times. “Nobody really knows anything, so we’re just like everyone else. The past few days have been confusing.”


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