Stevens addresses Kyrie’s comments about Celtics fans originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Kyrie Irving turned heads during his postgame press conference Tuesday night when asked about his anticipated return to Boston.
Following Game 2 between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, Irving said he hopes there will be “no belligerence or any racism going on, subtle racism” when the series shifts to TD Garden. Those remarks, of course, sparked a strong reaction in the city of Boston.
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Brad Stevens was asked to share his thoughts on Irving’s comments Wednesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand. The Celtics coach says he hasn’t been informed of specific instances of racism at C’s games, but that it doesn’t mean Irving’s claims should be discredited.
“I’d certainly take any comments like that, I think you should take them very, very seriously,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what context he was discussing there, but I do think, I know that the [TD] Garden, I know that the Celtics, I know that the NBA, I know that everybody is very alert to making sure that our fans don’t cross the line. And I think that that’s really important.”
“People shouldn’t ever feel like they’re being discriminated against. But I think that everybody is dialed into that now,” Stevens said. “That hasn’t been brought to my attention that that’s happened, maybe but once or twice since I’ve been here, and it was dealt with immediately. But maybe it’s happened and guys haven’t talked about it. And certainly, Kyrie had never mentioned anything to me about it, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And I think that those things should always be taken really seriously.”
Irving said in 2019 he never experienced racism while playing in Boston as a Celtic or as an opponent.
Friday night’s Game 3 will mark the first time Irving has played with fans in attendance at TD Garden since he left the C’s in free agency. The venue will be at full capacity for Game 4 on Sunday.