The relationship between fans and athletes at sporting events has been in the spotlight over the past few days. As arenas have reopened at near capacity, incidents like a spectator dumping popcorn on Russell Westbrook in Philadelphia, and somebody spitting on Trae Young in New York, have pushed the discussion.
That conversation has been prevalent in Boston as well, following Kyrie Irving’s comments about making his return to Boston for Game 3 of the Celtics-Nets series. “Hopefully we can just keep it strictly basketball,” Irving replied when asked about the reception he was expecting from Boston fans. “No belligerence or subtle racism and people yelling [expletive] from the crowd. Even if it is, it’s part of the nature of the game.”
Following those comments, Celtics players including Marcus Smart and Tristan Thompson shared they have had racist encounters with fans in Boston.
Speaking with the media before Game 3 on Friday night, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown shared his thoughts on the matter, unprompted.