ESPN’s Malika Andrews Randomly Brings Up Boston Celtics New Head Coach Joe Mazzulla’s Past | Black Twitter Wants Her Fired

Photo: @malika_andrews/IG

Malika Andrews is going down a path reminiscent of her co-worker Sage Steele’s, Black fan base cancellation. Recently, the NBA reporter caught the ire of the Twitter streets when she brought up unsavory incidents in Boston Celtics’ new head coach, Joe Mazzulla’s past that made no sense in the context of his unique opportunity.

During a recent episode of “NBA Today,” Andrews continued her reporting on the Ime Udoka suspension from the Boston Celtics. She also mentioned the past of assistant coach-turned-head coach Joe Mazzulla with curious timing, as it was during an on-air report about the suspension of Ime Udoka for breaking Celtics company policy.

“We’d be remiss not to also mention that Mazzulla was arrested twice at West Virginia, once in 2008 for underage drinking and aggravated assault,” Andrews said. “He pled guilty, paid a fine, and then again in 2009 for domestic battery after an incident at Morgantown Bar. The domestic battery case never went to trial. It was settled in August of 2009. He paid a $100 fine and court costs plus had to do 40 hours of community service. Now that was 13 years ago, he settled and paid both fines.”

Then she pivoted to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski in a way that felt like the Celtics should have considered any of those elements as a precursor for Mazzulla’s hiring.

“Now, Woj, why are the Celtics choosing him as their next head coach?” Andrews said, transitioning to Woj. However, Woj eliminated the nuance of doubt Andrews presented with a sleight of hand by stating exactly why the team chose Mazzulla, which was an appropriate pivot.

“Well, let’s start with this. This is somebody whose character they realy believe in, whose leadership they really believe in, and tactically they think that Joe Mazzulla has all the makings of a head coach in the NBA,” said NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

Mazzulla was in trouble specifically a fight in a nightclub when he was 18. All charges were dropped in the case, and he paid a small fine for his part in the incident. However, now at 34 years old, with the opportunity of a lifetime before him, bringing up the incidents and beginning with, “we’d be remiss not to also mention,” creates energy around Mazzulla’s promotion that is not positive.

No significant details around Udoka’s affair have been revealed aside from reports of a consensual relationship with a staffer, which is against Celtics company policy. However, no reports of violence or anything else should trigger a recount of Mazzulla’s indiscretions.

It sets the tone that Andrews offers biased reporting through a nuanced approach. She leaves a seed of doubt before he takes over the organization’s reins. That Mazzulla is a Black man makes it worse as that already comes with prevalent stigmatization of aggression and lack of discipline in relation to their white coaching counterparts.

Whether a producer fed Andrews the lines, she could have vetoed or annexed its inclusion on national television, and she didn’t. That is a disservice to both Joe Mazzulla and anyone who atoned for a mistake anywhere while trying to progress in their career.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.