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During a press conference last week, Kyrie Irving called out the racism from his days as a Boston Celtic before heading to Boston to play. “I am just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball. There’s no belligerence or racism going on--subtle racism. People yelling sh*t from the crowd but even if it is. It’s part of the nature of the game and we’re just going to focus on what we can control.” When a reporter asked whether he had ever had a racist comment directed towards him while in TD Garden, his response,”was not the only one that can attest to this. It is what it is. The whole world knows it. The whole world knows it.”

Former teammate Marcus Smart co-signed Irving and agreed that Celtic fans can use racial slurs. In a 2020 Players’ Tribune Article, Smart spoke about an encounter he had with a fan. “But the incident that has stuck with me the most and that’s had the biggest impact on me, occurred a few years back after a victory at the Garden. I was pulling out of the arena parking lot when I saw a white woman with her five or six-year-old son crossing against the light right as cars were starting to come at them. I had my windows down and realized something bad was about to happen, so I yelled at her politely, that she needed to hurry and get out the street so the two of them wouldn’t get hurt. The woman was wearing an Isaiah Thomas No. 4 Celts jersey. And there was all these other Celtics fans around who were at the game. I figured she’d cool. Nope. She swung her around and it was.. Fu*k you, you fu*king ni**er!”

Danny Ainge, former Celtic and President of the Celtic organization (recently stepped down) responded to Kyrie’s statement during an interview on 93.5 The Sports Hub, “I think that we take those kind of things seriously. I never heard any of that, from any player that I’ve ever played with in my 26 years in Boston. I never heard that before from Kyrie and I talked to him quite a bit.” Many of Ainge’s former teammates have spoken about the racism they endured from fans as players and Smart’s Players’ Tribune article came out a year ago.

Fans have recently started to make their way back to arenas’ since the start of the pandemic. But their arrival has poses the question, was the league better off without having fans in the stands?

After suffering an ankle injury, Russell Westbrook was heading to the locker room when a 76er fan threw popcorn on his head. Westbrook, rightfully so, had to be restrained from going after the fan. The 76ers apologized and revoked the fan’s season tickets, “We apologize to Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior. There is no place for it our spot or arena.”

Trae Young was SPAT on by a fan! IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC! The Knicks released a statement, “We investigated the matter and determined that this patron, who is not a season ticket holder did indeed spit on Trae Young, and for that reason, he is now banned from the Garden indefinitely. We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan behavior. This is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities.”

Three Jazz fans were banned after racist remarks were made towards Memphis Grizzles guard Ja Morant. One fan told Tee Morant, Ja’s father, “I’ll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance boy.” Another fan made sexually explicit remarks to Ja’s mother, Jamie. A third fan who was ejected yelled at Ja’s mother, “Shut the fu*k up, bit*h.” The Jazz released a statement “The Utah Jazz have zero tolerance for offensive or disruptive behavior. An incident occurred last night involving a verbal altercation during Game 2. Arena security staff intervened and the investigation resulted in the removal and banning of three JAzz fans indefinitely.”


A few days later, a Celtic fan threw a bottle as Irving was heading to the locker room following the Nets’ 141-126 win in the TD Garden. 21-year-old Cole Buckley was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and was arraigned this week in Boston Municipal Court. “You can see that people just feel very entitled out here. They paid for their tickets--great. I’m grateful that they’re coming in to watch a great performance. But we’re not at the theater. We’re not throwing tomatoes and other random stuff at the people that are performing.” Kyrie Irving said in a post-game interview. This was Kyrie’s first time in TD Garden since leaving Boston with fans in the stands.

A fan ran onto the court during Game 4 of the Wizards and 76ers series in Washington DC.

Five different incidents, four involving Black players and one incident involved white fans yelling racial slurs at a player’s family. These NBA players are not zoo animals, they are players, entertainers, HUMANS and they should be treated as such.


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