BOSTON – A Boston Celtics fan who apparently threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving’s head as he walked out of TD Garden court following the Brooklyn Nets 141-126 victory on Sunday night was arrested, according to a testimony from TD Garden.
The fan was taken out of the arena by Boston police and “arrested for throwing something,” the statement said.
The bottle just missed Irving, who headed for the tunnel after his 39-point performance and gave Brooklyn a 3-1 lead over the Celtics.
“You can see that the people out here just feel very legitimate,” Irving said of the incident. “They paid for their tickets – great, thank you for coming in to see a great performance. But we’re not in the theater. We don’t throw tomatoes and other random things at the people who are performing.”
“We will support and assist the Boston Police Department as this incident is under investigation,” a TD Garden spokesman said in a statement. “We do not tolerate any violations of our code of conduct for guests and the guest is subject to a lifetime ban by TD Garden.”
This is the latest in a series of cases of fans throwing objects or hurling body fluids at players. Washington Wizards security guard Russell Westbrook had thrown a carton of popcorn from a fan at him last week in Philadelphia as he walked through a tunnel at the Wells Fargo Center. Hawk’s guard Trae Young was spat at by a fan in Madison Square Garden. Tee Morant, father of Ja Morant, the security guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, said several Salt Lake City fans made racist and vulgar remarks against him and his wife while they were attending a game at Vivint Arena.
When the bottle was thrown on Sunday night, Irving and his teammate Tyler Johnson immediately stopped and looked out into the stands. Irving declined to give details of the back and forth.
“You see a lot of old ways,” said Irving. “That’s how it has been in history for entertainment, performers and sports for a long time and it was just the underlying racism and people were just treated like they were in a human zoo. Throw things at people, say things There is a certain point where it becomes too much. “
This weekend marked the first time Irving played with fans at TD Garden since signing as a free agent with Brooklyn in 2019. Before the Nets left for Boston, Irving, who played two seasons for the Celtics, was asked how he thought he would be met by fans at TD Garden. Irving said he hoped fans would “just keep it strictly basketball. There’s no argument or racism; subtle racism.”
Danny Ainge, president of the Celtics division of basketball, said in a radio interview Thursday that he had never heard of players addressing racism in the past as a member of the Celtics.
“I think we take things like this seriously,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “I’ve never heard of this, from a player I’ve ever played with in my 26 years in Boston. I’ve never heard that from Kyrie, and I’ve talked to him quite a bit. Well, I don’t know . ” It doesn’t matter to me. We only play basketball. The players can say what they want. “
The bottle throwing on Sunday wasn’t the first incident between players and fans in Boston. Two years ago, a TD Garden fan was banned from shouting a racial fraud in a game held on January 26, 2019 at the DeMarcus Cousins all-star center – back then with the Golden State Warriors – for a two-year period.
“In the course of this investigation, we were able to conclude that the fan had berated the Golden State Bank, but none of the parties questioned were able to verify the use of racially offensive language and video evidence was inconclusive.” The Celtics said in a statement at the time about the fan who was underage.
The Celtics said the fan would be banned for two years due to their investigation. Current Nets star Kevin Durant was on this Warriors team with cousins, while Irving was still a member of the Celtics at the time.
“The fans have to grow up at some point,” said Durant after Sunday’s game. “I know that being in the house for a year and a half with the pandemic made a lot of people nervous, stressed a lot of people, but when you get to these games you have to realize that these men are people.
“We’re not animals; we’re not in the circus. When you come to the game, it’s not just about you as a fan. So have some respect for the game. Have some respect for people and some respect for yourself. ” Your mom wouldn’t be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players or spitting at players or throwing popcorn. So, grow up and enjoy the game. It’s bigger than you. “