Boston blew it by not imposing a lifetime ban on the fan that called DeMarcus Cousins a “Ni**er”.
Call it a coincidence, call it damage control.
A few days after DeMarcus Cousins told Yahoo Sports reporter Chris Haynes that he had been called the N-word by a fan in January when the Warriors were in Boston, the bigoted perpetrator has been identified and banned by the Celtics for the remainder of this season and all of next season, according to Haynes.
Yahoo Sources: A fan in Boston banned two years for muttering n***** at DeMarcus Cousins during Golden State’s only visit to TD Garden. More details in video link provided. https://t.co/xWpgFu0amH pic.twitter.com/JbtFOt3scZ
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 29, 2019
The Celtics don’t get any special props for taking action against the bigot, but Cousin does. Often painted as an ornery, confrontational guy by media and the target of ref’s whistles, he handled the situation correctly and simply had the fan removed. No need to go back and forth with those types of ignorant cowards.
The Celtics organization thinks they are slick by announcing the temporary ban a few days after Cousins said he was called the N-word, but refused to divulge the offending city out of respect for the NBA.
That gave me an entirely new respect for him as a man.
But unfortunately, Boston’s deep, dark and continuous pattern of racist and hateful behavior towards African-American athletes continues. The team had an opportunity to come out strongly against this type of behavior towards athletes and ban the fan for life, but they shot a brick instead. The imposed year and a half ban suggests that the team doesn’t feel that using the N-word towards Black players isn’t that serious.
If Utah could impose a lifetime ban, what does this say about Boston?
Such language should warrant an automatic lifetime ban because that word should never be tolerated. Cousins displayed great class by not inciting another Malice At The Palace incident, yet there are many who feel he would have been justified in flying into the stands and administer a two-piece to the insulting fan. After all, Cousins posed a great question to Haynes in the interview:
“When does our safety become important?
Warriors star DeMarcus Cousins on Posted Up w/Chris Haynes Pod on worst fan interactions: “I’ve been called n******…on few occasions…When does our safety become important?”
WARNING: Video clip accompanied w/story contains slurs, explicit language. https://t.co/gk1H4LYmds
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 25, 2019
Too many incidents have flared up recently where fans feel entitled, and comfortable enough, to spew their racist garbage at athletes during games.
Back in 2017, Baltimore Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones was berated by racist taunts at Fenway Park while a bag of peanuts was thrown at him, calling it one of the worst cases of fan abuse he has heard in his career.
“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,” Jones said. “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”
You can’t say Boston doesn’t continue to live up to its reputation, one that casts a negative and unfair cloud over all of the citizens of Boston. Problem is, it keeps happening.
Just compare how the Celtics handled this vile incident to the way the Utah Jazz handled fans who heckled opposing player Russell Westbrook on a much less disrespectful scale.
According to Deadspin, “ Recently, a fan was accused of shouting “get down on your knees like you used to” at Westbrook, both by Westbrook and by several of his teammates. The Jazz, upon completing an investigation of the incident, permanently banned the fan from their arena. Another Jazz fan who taunted Westbrook during the 2018 playoffs by repeatedly calling him “boy” has since been permanently banned from the arena.”
Why does the Utah fan who taunted Westbrook get permanently banned & he allegedly didn't say the "N" word and the guy who taunted Demarcus Cousins who did say it just get a year & half ban? It's only 8 games left so it's really a 1 season ban. WTF?! https://t.co/FicvgbzseN
— Goro (@GoroJones) March 29, 2019
Boston has got to do better. The commissioner needs to intercede. He needs to force GM Danny Ainge or the Boston Basketball Partners and CEO Wyc Grousbeck to make a statement addressing the incident and ensuring the basketball community that hate speech will not be tolerated in a legendary basketball sanctuary like The Garden, where so many African-American athletes have represented themselves with class and dignity, bringing joy to the city.
Nothing else is really acceptable.
This can’t just be brushed off.
If white fans still feel like they have the right to address African-American players in that fashion, then the NBA isn’t the bastion of player freedom and empowerment that it fancies itself to be.