Sunday’s showdown between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics was a fairly lackluster affair.
The Nets, clearly the superior team talent-wise in this particular match-up, escaped with a dominant 141-126 victory to take a 3-1 series lead.
What ended up stealing all the headlines after the fact was a fan’s decision to throw a water bottle at former Celtics guard, current Nets star Kyrie Irving.
The fan in question was ultimately arrested and charged with assault and battery.
After the fact, Celtics star Jayson Tatum offered something of a surprising take on the whole incident.
“I mean, 18,000 people in a building,” he said.
“I guess in any arena there are a few bad seeds. I don’t want that to overshadow the rest of the fans that came and supported us tonight. I was extremely happy to see that, but obviously, there’s no place in NBA for throwing bottles or throwing anything at a player. So I’m sure that they’ll handle that right away.”
What’s interesting about Tatum’s response is that it carefully straddles a delicate line.
On one hand, he is clearly condemning misbehaving fans. On the other – he is careful not to indict his fanbase as a whole, knowing full well the ramifications of that.
The details are brutal. https://t.co/qU3GerHiu6
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 30, 2021
After the bottle-throwing incident went viral between Sunday night and Monday morning, Irving’s actions in the lead-up fell under the microscope.
Does that justify what happened to him? Absolutely not.
Does it provide additional context into the ill-will that exists between Irving and his former fanbase? Absolutely.