There’s nothing more frustrating than white people discussing racism or men sharing their thoughts on pregnancy. And the group of people that usually commits both of those sins are white men, like Danny Ainge.
The Celtics general manager thought it would be a good idea to open his mouth about a city that’s long been considered one of the most racist places in the most racist country on Earth. As a white man from Oregon that played at BYU and is beloved in Boston, Ainge felt his “expertise” was needed on the subject after former Celtics star Kyrie Irving said this:
“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,” Irving said as his Brooklyn Nets take a 2-0 series lead over the Celtics into Boston on Friday night where Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden will have fans. “People yelling s—- 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.”
This is how Ainge responded:
“I think that we take those kinds of things seriously,” Ainge said during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “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.”
This is an example of someone showing us that they have never had a meaningful conversation with a Black person in Boston, without actually telling us that they have never had a meaningful conversation with a Black person in Boston. Especially after this happened at Fenway Park a few years ago:
I guess Ainge missed that whole ordeal back in 2017 when Adam Jones got called the N-word and had a bag of peanuts thrown at him while he was on the field.
“I’ve heard a couple of them,” said current Celtic Marcus Smart about racist things being said by fans to Black players in Boston, according to Jay King of The Athletic. “It’s kind of sad and sickening because even though it’s an opposing team, we have guys on your home team that you’re saying these racial slurs and you’re expecting us to go out there and play for you.”
And it’s not like this is the first time Smart has mentioned this about Boston while playing for Ainge. Check out this quote from him that happened all the way back in…2020.
“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 the cars were starting to come at them. I had my windows down and realized something bad was about to happen, so I yelled to her, politely, that she needed to hurry and get out of the street so the two of them wouldn’t get hurt.
The woman was wearing an Isaiah Thomas number 4 Celts jersey. And there were all these other Celtics fans around who were at the game. I figured she’d be cool.
She swung her head around and it was….
“F—- you, you f—-ing n-word!!!!”
Just last year, Celtics legend Bill Russell wrote these words about his time in Boston during the ‘50s and ‘60s.
“During games people yelled hateful, indecent things: ‘Go back to Africa,’ ‘Baboon,’ ‘Coon.’ ‘N*gger.
“As far as I was concerned, I played for the Boston Celtics, the institution, and the Boston Celtics, my teammates. I did not play for the city or for the fans.”
But despite all the evidence and experiences Black people and players have dealt with for decades in Boston, there will always be someone that’s inconsiderate.
“Celtics fans are some of the best fans in the world. I played there for eight-and-a-half years. I lived there for eight-and-a-half years. And me personally, I never dealt with any type of racism while I was living in Boston,” said former Celtic Kendrick Perkins on NBC Sports Boston. “That’s just me personally. I never dealt with it. I also came back as an opponent of the Celtics. I played there with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers and still never experienced any racism.”
When Game 3 tips off tonight and Game 4 takes place on Sunday, all eyes will be on fans in Boston. In a week in which Trae Young was spat on in Madison Square Garden and Russell Westbrook had popcorn poured on him in Philadelphia, the treatment of Black players by fans has become a thing, again. And if we’re ever going to solve this issue as sports has always been a change agent when it comes to race, then white people like Danny Ainge need to shut the hell up.