The NBA has had a tumultuous return to packed arenas and fan involvement after the pandemic season, and Brooklyn Nets Player Kyrie Irving once again finds himself at the center of controversy. The Nets' Point Guard and former Boston Celtics player Kyrie Irving is, once again, on the offensive against Boston fans, in response to the arrest of a fan that threw a water bottle at the player Sunday night. 

Kyrie has been steadfast in defending himself from what he sees as racist behavior from Boston fans, stating after Sunday's game that: "It’s been that way in history in terms of entertainment, performers and sports for a long period of time, just underlying racism and just treating people like they’re in a human zoo."

Kyrie doubled down on his comments during a post-game press conference. Though he has hope for the future of the game, he went on to explain that: "It’s unfortunate that sports has come to a lot of this kind of crossroads where you’re seeing a lot of old ways come up," calling Boston fans entitled: "Throwing stuff at people and saying things. It’s a certain point where it gets to be too much […] people just feel very entitled out here." 

This comes after a string of similar events both involving Kyrie and not. Just a week ago Irving condemned Boston fans for racist chants and behavior and later that week Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook had a heated exchange with a fan who dumped popcorn on him. "Hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball; there’s no belligerence or racism going on – subtle racism," said Irving last week after he experienced racist chants. An even more intense encounter happened during Game 3 of the New York Knicks series against the Atlanta Hawks, where point guard Trae Young was spat on by a fan

While Kyrie maintains his hope for a civil and respectful relationship between players and their communities, repeated and excessive violations by fans continue to jeopardize the health of the game.

Check out Sunday's post-game press conference here: 

 

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