This week, Danny reacted to Stephen A. Smith’s latest comments about Boston sports:
Are we doing the whole “Boston sports fans are racist” thing again? Apparently so.
On Monday afternoon, NBC Sports’ lead NBA writer and managing editor Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) tweeted out the following:
“Report: With Gordon Hayward, Celtics players sensitive to Boston fans preferring white star.”
The tweet was connected to a link on NBCsports.com, and a story written by someone named Dan Feldman. Never heard of Feldman until I clicked on that link, which is notable, seeing that it was most likely one of the highest-viewed pages their site has seen in a while.
We live in a world where it’s no longer popular to be correct. Rather, it’s all about clicks, and downloads, and retweets. Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) has less Twitter followers than me. He could certainly use some type of controversial story to get him on the radar.
So he posted a story that revolved around a comment that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made recently, which, suddenly makes this story more about Smith than it does Feldman. Kind of. Stay with me. We’ll get back to Feldman.
But his story shared a quote from Smith, which read:
“And then there’s the element of Boston, Massachusetts. They don’t just want a star. Of course, they’ll take any star that they can get, because their priority is winning. But everybody and their mother knows that particularly when it comes to Boston, if we can have a white superstar, that would be even better. And they view Gordon Hayward as having that kind of potential.
So, all of those things considered, the players recognize this, were aware of this. And ultimately those who were compromised by having to be on a court with Gordon Hayward were sensitive to it.”
There’s more to this quote, but I honestly can’t even be bothered to relay it to you. It’s that stupid.
Look, you don’t need a history lesson from me on racism in the city of Boston. But if this comment from Smith makes you angry — and it should — it doesn’t mean you’re running and hiding from that history.
When I saw this story, I was furious. And upon seeing the initial tweet, I responded with a tweet of my own:
“I’ll drive Gordon Hayward to Logan Airport right [expletive] now.”
It’s true. I will. And not because my purpose is to stand atop the Dorchester Heights with a pitchfork and defend the city of Boston by exiling all white pro athletes out of town in a “see, we aren’t racist” tone. I’d drive Hayward to Logan right now because I simply wouldn’t take him over Kyrie Irving, or Jayson Tatum, or Jaylen Brown, and the list goes on. That’s a basketball opinion, nothing more, nothing less.
So, if we’re trying to get the facts straight here — which we should be — then I don’t think there is a single person in New England who would take Hayward on his best day over Irving, if they had to choose. And we certainly don’t ever sit there in awe of Irving and think, “Wow, I wish he was white.”
Get out of here with that nonsense.
If the Celtics didn’t sign Hayward to a max contract, then somebody else was going to. Would Smith be on ESPN Radio spewing this “racist” garbage if Hayward was making max money somewhere else? Of course not. Because it wouldn’t fit the narrative.
And the narrative is that current Boston sports fans are still linked to the city’s history of racism. So much so, that in this case, according to Smith, we here in Boston would feel “it would be even better” if our team’s superstar is white.
That comment should make you angry. But here’s the problem. We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.
If we don’t argue what Smith said, then we’re accepting it as gospel, which it isn’t, obviously. And if we get mad about it, then you have people like Feldman from NBC Sports who tweeted out 15 minutes after he wrote the story:
“People in Boston really hate racism. Wait, sorry. I misread my notes. People in Boston really hate discussion of racism.”
Nah. That’s not true either. Nobody is running from the past. But if we’re all trying to make progress on this issue — and we should be — then what we here in Boston really hate is the discussion of racism in cases where it truly doesn’t exist.
Like this one.
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