In the moments on Wednesday night surrounding when the Boston Celtics tipped off their first game of the season, a last-second win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a man opened fire at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine, and killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens of others.
The players on the Celtics (and Knicks), who were on the floor at MSG when the news was breaking, were probably unaware of what was happening several hours north of where they were playing. Nor should they have been. It was the first night of an 82-game regular season, and they had at least 81 more nights on the court to look forward to.
Away from the hardwood and close to their keyboards or cellphones, those who were aware of the truly sad and unfortunate happenings of what had occurred in Lewiston took the time to condemn a clearly awkward post from the Celtics’ Twitter (X?) account which acknowledged their win over the Knicks as well as the shooting and the victims. Some internet users, instead of condemning the shooting, condemned the tweet, which was later deleted.
The Celtics have an NBA G League Team in Portland, Maine, which is not too far away from Lewiston, Maine. Is it really too hard to think that someone, maybe an intern, who was from the area was upset about the shooting and voiced it with their required message about Boston’s win? And, even if that wasn’t the case, was it really so bad they called attention to an atrocity and offered their thoughts to the victims? The account of the Knicks, who were playing the Celtics during the shooting, didn’t have a message of any kind about the killings or the victims. They just had this.
Which there was nothing wrong with at all. It is totally fine that the social media account for the Knicks didn’t address what had happened in Maine during the game they were playing against the Celtics. Boston’s account, uncomfortably, did. But was addressing what had happened, even in a clumsy way, worse than not addressing it at all? And was mocking what they had posted on social media helpful at all in aiding the victims of this atrocity or preventing future mass shootings? Or was it just as far off from the post from the Celtics that started all this?
This was really all that needed to be said. And it was. Again.
It’s an odd question, but did anyone who complained about the first message from the Celtics really mean it? Did they possess a tiny bit of condolences and grace, or a larger load of unfocused outrage and hope for likes? At the end of the night, it likely doesn’t matter all that much to anyone in Lewiston or anyone else in the alarming number of towns, cities and communities across the United States who have been impacted by needless gun violence. But what may matter to them is focusing on the victims, the aftermath and the potential for healing instead of glorifying what someone who waits to say “Gotcha” blared on social media about the action someone else may have attempted to take, albeit in an awkward way, to help.