Stephen A. Smith is speaking up for Nia Long, who has endured months of public scrutiny due to her ex-fiancé’s cheating drama.
Last September, the actress claimed to be completely blindsided after reports that Ime Udoka had an affair with a woman who was also purportedly employed by the Boston Celtics. Four months later, it was confirmed that Long and Udoka had split. As a result of his actions, the father of Long’s youngest child was replaced as head coach of the organization. He was recently named head coach of the Houston Rockets, but many are still outraged with how everything went down.
“I’m very happy Ime Udoka got a new job, but I’m still pissed off about how that entire situation was handled,” Smith tweeted on April 26, along with a video clip from a recent episode of his “K[No]w Mercy” podcast.
About eight minutes into the episode, the sports analyst discussed the press conference where Udoka shared that he had been in counseling with their son, Kez Sunday, 11, over the incident.
Smith said, “I think it’s universally known he had a sexual relationship with someone within the organization. Why was it any of our business?”
Related: Boston Celtics Coach Ime Udoka Cheated on Nia Long with Team’s Travel Agent Who Helped Long Relocate to Boston Before Affair Was Discovered By Agent’s Husband
He doubled down on his belief that a “racial component” played a factor in how the scandal was publically revealed. He said he had “stories” about white men who were “screwing around” with someone internally.
“I never saw a damn press conference about it,” he stated. “My opinion was keep him or fire him. What you don’t do is publicize it.”
As someone who has been in the sports field for over 30 years, he said he’s never seen a press conference to address a coach’s suspension.
Smith said he couldn’t confirm “definitively” but he heard the female staffer was a white woman, stating that her “identity is protected. Fine.”
“What about the sister the Black woman named Nia Long? That is his woman and the mother of his child that was thrown to the wolves by having all of this publicized.”
He questioned, “Did she deserve that? uh?”
“How come nobody thought about the sister? How come they just left her out there standing on her own? “I will always defend her,” he noted. “I will always defend her on this issue.”
After a few moments of giving the “Love Jones” star her flowers for being an “accomplished woman,” he blamed the organization for blowing up the incident in the media.
“I don’t want to hear about leaks. The Boston Celtics blew up the story,” Smith declared. “You could have fired him and said ask him.”
He went on to reiterate his stance that a Black woman was left to hang. He said it’s an “unforgivable” act for whoever leaked this information to the press.
The 55-year-old also shared part of his rant on Instagram, where Long thanked him for his support in the comment section.
“Nia Long still deserves an apology,” he wrote in the caption. She replied, “Thank you @stephenasmith for your support. TBC….” and in another comment, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman -Malcolm X.”
One fan said, “Let the church say Amen. And they still didn’t publicly apologize to her after she spoke up about how messed up it was.”
On April 29, Long shared a cryptic post to seemingly sum up what has taken place in regard to Udoka’s actions and Smith’s comments. It read, “The best revenge is no revenge. Move on. Be happy.”
In her first interview after the scandal, Long revealed that she had to take her son out of school because of how he was affected.
“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,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him.”
She continued, “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.”
During the public scrutiny and since Long’s fans have continued to send her love and support amid the controversial matter. She’s since moved out of their Boston home and back to Los Angeles, where she shares a home with Kez, and her oldest son, 22-year-old Massai.