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Former NBA player Matt Barnes says he knows details of Ime Udoka’s behavior, and that it’s ‘100 times uglier than any of us thought’

Former NBA player Matt Barnes is shown speaking at a rally in Sacramento in 2018.Rich Pedroncelli

Longtime NBA player Matt Barnes rescinded an earlier criticism of the Celtics for their decision to suspend Ime Udoka, declaring he had learned the facts behind the suspended coach’s transgressions and that the behavior is “100 times uglier than any of us thought.”

Barnes said on social media Thursday night that a consensual sexual relationship within the NBA is “not uncommon,” and that it was a “terrible decision” to punish Udoka with a one-year suspension equal to that of Suns owner Robert Sarver, who received that ban (alongside a $10 million fine) for a documented history of racial and misogynistic comments.


Barnes, an NBA analyst and podcaster who last played in 2017, soon removed that video. He said Friday in a follow-up that after his comments began pinging around the web, he “got a call from someone who had all the details and, the [expletive] is deep.”

“It’s messy,” he said. “Some things happened that I can’t condone, I can’t back, and it’s not my place to tell you what happened. If it ends up coming out, it ends up coming out.”