Kyrie Irving Addresses Underlying Causes of Boston Bottle-Throwing Incident

Another alarming moment in the sports world

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during Game Three of the Eastern Conference first round series against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 28, 2021 in Boston.
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Last night in Boston, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Boston Celtics 141-126 in a playoff matchup. It should have been a moment of triumph for the Nets, but was marred when a Celtics fan decided to throw a bottle of water at Kyrie Irving’s head. This resulted in the fan in question being arrested and receiving a lifetime ban at TD Garden.

The fan in question has since been charged with assault and battery, and will be arraigned tomorrow, according to ESPN reporter Malika Andrews.

For Irving, though, the moment wasn’t just about one man’s thoroughly toxic and dangerous behavior. Instead, in comments made after the game, he addressed the underlying causes of the incident. The Guardian noted that Irving’s remarks turned the debate to a more structural concern.

“[It’s] just underlying racism, and treating people like they’re in a human zoo,” Irving said. “Throwing stuff at people, saying things. There’s a certain point where it gets to be too much.”

Irving’s point that this incident is indicative of something larger is one that resonates. He is, unfortunately, not the only NBA player to be the target of unacceptable behavior this season. And the NBA isn’t the only league where behavior like this has been an issue — the recent social media boycott addressing online abuse and racism in English soccer is further evidence of how bad things have gotten.

And Irving’s emphasis on the underlying causes makes sense as well. A guy throwing a water bottle is bad enough on its own, but it’s also indicative of a deeper issue; resolving that is going to take a much larger process.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!