Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“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 shit 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.”
And before anyone says, ‘but Kyrie…..’
Last year, Smart outlined an incident that left him shaken in the Players Tribune. Leaving TD Garden one night after a game, Smart saw a woman and a child crossing the street as cars started to drive. Smart yelled at the woman — who was wearing an Isaiah Thomas jersey — to hurry out of the street.
“I figured she’d be cool,” Smart wrote in his story.
Instead, the woman turned and screamed at him, calling him a “f—ing n-word” in front of the young child.
The problem with Boston fans is not that they are more racist than any other fanbase. I’m a pretty firm believer that people are basically people and that, acting as individuals, most of them are fairly reasonable.
The problem is that (1) there are a lot of Celtic fans, and (2) the larger the group, the greater the number of, shall we say, bad actors within the group.
Now one of the things Boston fans love to tell themselves is that they’re the ‘best’ fans in basketball. This is somewhat akin to South Dakotans telling themselves that they’re ‘sensible’ people. It’s stupid, self-delusional and patently untrue. Boston fans are not the best basketball fans. No fanbase has ‘the best’ fans. It’s not something that can be measured, validated, tested or falsified. It is a statement that as Wolfgang Pauli once said, ‘is not even wrong.’
But, armed with that assumption about themselves, the worst members of the Boston fanbase feel emboldened to do things that no reasonable person would do, and due to the sheer number of Boston fans, there are plenty of examples of this type. We all saw Boston fans who consider themselves ‘the best’ pry into the family affairs of the Haywards—as if regularly lambasting him for his on-court play was not enough.
Boston’s ‘best fans’ have vocally demanded the removal of any number of players from the team. Where they haven’t been demanding trades, they’ve questioned the effort and the ability of players on the court.
If the C’s are losing, there are any number of people who are loudly clamoring for drastic measures.
Now you can say that it’s okay to express frustration with the team, and to a point that’s certainly accurate. You can say that it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to be uniformly positive all the time, and that’s also accurate.
But here’s the thing: When there are sufficiently large numbers of people doing a certain thing, for instance, ragging on Kemba Walker for something or another, there will be a sufficiently large number of people who will cross a line in their complaints. And when there are a sufficiently large number of people crossing a line, then players are going to notice.
I realize that this blog is not going to change the way C’s fans act—and it is not intended to do so. Instead, I’m pointing out that as long as there are huge numbers of Celtic fans in road arenas, as long as the Garden crowd gets so loud that players on the court can’t hear each other, there are going to be a higher number of Boston fans acting badly than, say, Atlanta Hawks fans. And that, in turn, is going to affect the reputation of Boston fans in general.
The other thing that needs to be discussed is the tendency to focus bad acts through the lens of racism:
He, like all of us who do not share in the Black experience of living in America, need to listen to what’s being said. It’s not my place to pass judgment on Irving’s experiences with racism because we don’t share the same worldview. And if you’re someone who wants to blow off Irving’s comments as gamesmanship, you’re missing the bigger picture.
The history of this country with respect to blacks is, by and large, an atrocious one.
But it is by no means the worst one. The treatment of indigenous peoples has been far worse—so much worse that few remain to speak up about it (only one of a thousand U.S. citizens claim native ancestry). There used to be hundreds of different languages spoken in U.S. territory. All but a handful are, along with their speakers, now extinct. And since they’re not around to talk about what happened to them, people have a tendency to forget.
And it is a mistake to prioritize racist acts. The protests when the police kill people of color carries with it a tacit implication that when the police kill white people it is less problematic, and doing so obscures a major problem with the way policing is carried out. Black people are about two and a half times more likely to be killed by the police—but they are also about two and a half times more likely to be poor. It is a serious mistake to let police who unjustly take the lives of poor whites off the hook—to let them think that their actions were acceptable because the target was not a person of color.
Similarly, a Boston fan who routinely trashed Robyn Hayward and speculated about the Hayward’s marriage and family life may be patting himself on the back because he’s never used racial epithets.
The thing is: Refusing to use racial epithets doesn’t make you a better person than someone who does. Not if your conduct in other areas is as objectionable as throwing around racial epithets.
It doesn’t matter if society views one particular kind of vicious behavior as being worse than another—that carries no moral weight whatsoever. For thousands of years, society viewed the ownership of one person by another as being perfectly normal. The bottom line is this: If your conduct harms another, it is wrong, period. There are no gradations of ‘wrong’. It is simply wrong.
Page 2: Where the C’s let the Nets control the pace in game 2
Last Friday I said that the C’s would need to slow the game down to have any chance at winning.
Saturday’s pace was 91. Tuesday’s pace was 98.