Ainge: ‘never heard’ Kyrie’s concerns on racism in Boston before, but takes seriously

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Boston Celtics Team President Danny Ainge addressed the controversial postgame comments from his former star point guard and current Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving on his usual weekly appearance on New England sports radio show “Toucher and Rich” on Thursday.

Irving had said he hoped he did not experience any racism in his return to Boston for the first time with fans in the stands since he left, which touched off a small firestorm of debate on the nature of and intensity of racism in Boston sports more generally. The unseemly side of professional sports in the area became the dominant sports narrative of the day, and Ainge felt it necessary to answer questions about it on the show.

“I think that we take those kinds of things seriously,” he began.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

"I have never heard any of that from any player I have played with in my 26 years in Boston," he added. "I have never heard that before from Kyrie, and I talked to him quite a bit. So, I don't know. As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter -- we're just playing basketball, players can say what they want." https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1397870229728944137?s=20

Asked if he thought Irving's words might deter players from coming to the Celtics, Ainge admitted he'd thought about it. "I think that everybody's influencing somebody. So yeah, I think that there's my fear that that could possibly happen."

"But I think that our players, and players that have played here in the past, will have their own experiences to share -- and it's just one player. And quite honestly, I've never heard any of it. I'm not saying the city of Boston [but] ... I think our fans are very respectful."

The Celtics president was careful to draw lines between the organization and its excellent history of being advocates for racial equity and society more generally. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1397824906688094208?s=20

Asked if he thought it "safe" for fans to boo Irving on his return, Ainge actually seemed enthusiastic about the prospect, an aspect of the game he openly embraced as a player. "Oh, listen, fans, I'm not sure that whatever I say will make a difference, but the fans will do what they want to do. Heck, I got booed millions of times in my career, and I enjoy it." "I got a kick out of Trae Young last night, he was getting booed in New York, and he was just thriving in it, and excelling and embracing it. And I think that's one part of the game," he suggested. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1397779601234006016?s=20

While the attitude of being "owed" something by professional athletes perhaps inches towards the sort of casual racism mentioned by Irving in his comments, there's nothing wrong with booing the player who changed his mind and left your favorite team. They had every right to do it, and we have every right to dislike their decision, as Ainge made a point of suggesting. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=51144,51145,51122,51117] [listicle id=51164]

1

1