Jaylen Brown became the last Celtic to speak ahead of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals on Friday night in response to Kyrie Irving’s revealing comments on hopes of avoiding ‘subtle racism’ at TD Garden ahead of his return to fans as a member of the Nets. Brown made a four-minute statement giving his take on the matter, his experience in Boston and his response to Irving’s remarks.
Here is his full statement:
“In fact, I have a point of view to share. I’ve seen things going around with Boston and the subject of racism. People around me insisted that I share my point of view. I haven’t spoken to anyone – Kyrie, Marcus or Danny Ainge – about my thoughts or my perspective, but I think it’s a good conversation. I think we have to fight racism and systemic racism in the city of Boston, as well as in the United States.
“However, I don’t like the way he was brought up, centered around a playoff game. The construction of racism, right? It is used as a crutch or an opportunity for personal gain. I’m not saying it does. But I think racism is more important than basketball, and I think racism is more important than Game 3 of the playoffs. I want to urge the media to paint this story as well. Because when painted in this way, it is callous to people who have to deal with it on a daily basis. The constructions and constraints of systemic racism in our school system, inequality in education, lack of opportunities, lack of housing, lack of affordable housing, lack of affordable health care, tokenism, list goes on. I therefore recognize and recognize my privilege as an athlete. Once you get to the point where that financial experience goes beyond the experiences people have on a daily basis, I want to point that out as well. So I want to stress that as well.
“I understand the frustration right now. I’ve seen what’s going on in sports and in sports arenas with the two incidents obviously with Russell Westbrook and Trae Young, and I’m pissed off, to be honest. I don’t think we should have to put up with this, and I don’t think it’s OK, by any means necessary. But when I look in the media and see these related incidents as a frame of racism, yes I think it’s important to address these situations, but if the topic is racism I think these incidents don’t compare. no, or these belligerent comments don’t compare to what systemic racism is doing in our community now and has done in the past. It is therefore important to frame it in this context.
“I think not all Celtics fans are, I know not all Celtics fans in our arena are racist. We have people from all walks of life, ethnicity, color, who are die-hard Celtics fans. So I think painting every Celtics fan as racist would be unfair. However, Boston, we have a lot of work to do, there is no question. The incarceration rate is ridiculous, the wealth disparity is embarrassing, the inequality in education, especially in Boston public schools, needs to be better. There is a lack of resources there, a lack of opportunities. The symbolism here in Boston must also be addressed. But if we’re going to talk about it and that’s what the media will talk about, I think that a sports arena, things could exist. But in the real world, things exist at very different ends. So I absolutely wanted to share my point of view. This is my opinion, of course, and people can dispute it. I really think Boston, we have a lot of work to do. But, that’s it, really. I’m not really answering questions guys, I just wanted to share my perspective. Thank you. “