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On Second Thought

For Boston sports teams, when will we say enough is enough with questionable characters?

Ime Udoka booted away his coaching job with the Celtics.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Ime Udoka, Mitchell Miller, and Rudy Meredith don’t have a whole lot in common, but lately they’ve mutually left their indelible, disgraceful marks in our local sports consciousness.

One day, maybe, we’ll say enough is enough with the likes of these guys, and we’ll invest our idle hours musing over things and people not related to games and clocks and contracts, to their wins and losses … and ultimately their misdeeds and undoings.

But for now, we remain gluttons for punishment, devoted to an industry that routinely and increasingly drops these oversized dumbbells at our doorstep. The next resounding thud is never far away.


When will enough be enough? History gives me every reason to doubt it ever happens, freely admitting that I’m part of the problem. What’s more hypocritical than being the one wagging the finger, while using the same finger to peck out the next game story, feature, or 800 words of deep-dive roster analysis?

So, yeah, we’re all in this together, this game of looking past most every transgression, suffering the constant parade of fools, miscreants, and creeps, and then breathlessly checking the TV listings, and now betting lines, to dial in our next fix. It really is like we’re addicted. Or that we lack, you know, lives.

Udoka booted away his coaching job with the Celtics because he transferred his lust for winning on the court to lustful conquests behind what he believed was the front office’s closed doors. A real leader of young men.

Udoka remains suspended for the season while the Celtics, apparently, figure a way to posture his salaciousness into something palatable for the Green Team’s masses. Are the fans that gullible? Well . . .

Miller never came to Boston, and won’t be coming to Boston, and never should have been on the Bruins’ watch list, never mind handed a three-year contract worth a potential $2.85 million.


The Bruins either overlooked, or looked past, Miller’s reported hateful and habitual hazing transgressions over a sizable chunk of his teenage years. Brutal read of the ice, the fan base, and the city at large. Exhibit A of out-of-town and equally out-of-touch ownership.

Don Sweeney and Cam Neely have a collective history that spans some 75 years in this market. They must have known they were boarding a bullet train to nowhere by taking on Miller. Yet they went there, a problem actually bigger than the player himself.

On Wednesday, a judge sentenced former Yale soccer coach Rudy Meredith to at least six months in prison for his role in the Varsity Blues scandal.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Meredith was once the Yale women’s soccer coach, until his money-grabbing greed turned fallow his career like so much November ivy left clinging to those hallowed New Haven walls.

He was here on Wednesday, at the Moakley Courthouse, where a judge slipped a five-month prison term into Meredith’s same greedy palm for his part in the Varsity Blues scandal — the notorious, protracted scheme of well-heeled parents paying off coaches so their kids could be placed on varsity rosters of elite schools.

Meredith chose moolah moolah over boola boola. He’ll enter the slammer in January.

We interrupt this rap sheet tour de force to inform you the next Celtics home game is Monday, with Oklahoma City in town for a 7:30 p.m. tap. The Bruins have a rare Sunday 6 p.m. start on Causeway Street vs. the Canucks. The Yale women, 7-5-3, just completed their regular season, their final game against Brown canceled over the weekend because of COVID concerns.


But wait, Eli fans, your Yale footballers face Harvard in The Game next Saturday. It’s a noon kickoff at Harvard Stadium. Good seats still available. And betting lines, of course. Be there.

The Patriots, never too timid to take on problem children, have been mercifully absent perp walks of late. In recent years, their sordid sagas have included Randy Moss, Aqib Talib, and Antonio Brown. Oh, and the deviant kingpin of them all, the murderous Aaron Hernandez.

As a sporting community, we tolerated that lot in Foxborough to varying degrees. All of which made the fan outrage last weekend over the Bruins/Miller incident, while fitting, somewhat surprising.

A sizable portion of the Boston fan and media base willingly held noses when it came to Moss and Talib, and some sounded willing to tolerate Brown, who, while here, stood accused of sexually assaulting Britney Taylor, his former trainer.

Antonio Brown created more than his share of negative headlines during his two-week tenure in New England.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

If we’re fortunate, maybe ditching Brown in September 2019, less than two weeks after he signed his $10.5 million deal, will be the end of questionable characters courted into the Patriot Way. Again, I doubt it. There is always a next man up in Foxborough. Most of us have looked the other way, because the glint of a trunk full of Super Bowl trophies blurred the vision.

The Red Sox have steered free of miscreants with moderate success since ridding the lineup of Julio Lugo, an accused wife beater, in 2009 at age 33.


In June 1997, infielder Wil Cordero was arrested for clubbing his wife with a telephone. Traded after the season, he played for six more teams over eight seasons.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright was suspended 15 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy in 2018, and the following March was booted for half a season after testing positive for human growth hormone.

Heck, we barely blink over someone blowing a drug test anymore. Once considered dishonorable, shameful cheating, now it’s just the everyday cost of doing business.

The Nets, amid the ongoing nastiness around Kyrie Irving’s antisemitic postings on social media, abruptly ditched their reported intention to bring in Udoka as their boss. They canned Steve Nash after a 2-5 start and within hours were eager to sign Udoka.

In the end, the Nets opted for assistant Jacque Vaughn. Maybe they didn’t like what their due diligence around Udoka produced. Or maybe they didn’t want to suffer the kind of blowback we saw here around Miller and the Bruins.

After all, we are the Hub of the Universe, and we know everyone follows our lead. If only our example led to better places.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at