Boston Celtics exec Brad Stevens called out social media users for their attempts to "unfairly" identify female staffers who may have been involved with head coach Ime Udoka, after he was suspended for the upcoming season for "violations of team policy".
Udoka's suspension comes after sources told PEOPLE the 45-year-old allegedly had an intimate relationship with a woman on the team's staff. Udoka has been engaged to actress Nia Long since 2015, and they share a 10-year-old son, Kez Sunday.
After the news broke on Thursday, the names and pictures of several female Celtics employees were shared online as users on Twitter and other platforms speculated over who was involved in the affair.
Stevens, a former head coach of the Celtics who is now the team's president of basketball operations, called the online discussions about the women "rampant bulls--t" during a press conference on Friday.
"The only thing that I would like to say is we have a lot of talented women in our organization, and I thought yesterday was really hard on them," he said.
"Nobody can control Twitter speculation — rampant bulls--t — but I do think that we as an organization have a responsibility that we're there to support them now because a lot of people were dragged unfairly because of that," he continued.
When asked about how the franchise is supporting its female employees in wake of the allegations, Stevens said the Celtics held meetings to "make sure everybody's available and supportive."
"I think we need to make sure that we're available for a while beyond that," he said. "That was really unfair in my opinion."
"I don't know how we can control Twitter," he later added. "Obviously there's only so much we can say, but our job is to be there. Yesterday was unfair to them."
The Celtics — who made it to the 2022 NBA Finals, in Udoka's first year as head coach — will now be led by interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, the son of famed basketball coach Dan Mazzulla.
In a statement on Thursday night, Udoka apologized for the events that led to his suspension. He did not discuss specifics about what led to the decision.
"I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down," Udoka wrote in a statement, which was obtained and shared online by ESPN's Malika Andrews.
"I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team's decision," he continued. "Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment."
In a statement sent to PEOPLE on Friday, Long thanked loved ones and fans for their support following the controversy.
"The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me," she said. "I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children."