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Are Boston sports fans racist? Bigoted? Why are we asking this question again?
Well, take a moment (that’s all it will take) to read Philly.com sportswriter John Mitchell’s 243-word (wow!) masterpiece of a “column” titled “KG: ‘fair-weathered’ beats bigoted any day.”
West Philadelphia born and raised, as the writer so eloquently describes in his biography, Mitchell did not take kindly to the words Kevin Garnett had about his beloved fanbase.
“You’ve got (Boston) fans and then you’ve got fairweather fans. Take it how you want it,” said Kevin Garnett after Monday’s Game 5 win.
So, Mitchell used KG’s comments as an opportunity to open up a can of worms he didn’t really need to open up.
“You think we’re the fair weather type, do you? Ok, to that I say that it’s better to be fair weather than to be anything remotely akin the cretins that unleashed their racist vitriol via Twitter upon Washington Capitals defenseman Joel Ward, a Black hockey player, last month after he eliminated Boston’s Bruins from the NHL playoffs with an overtime goal,” Mitchell wrote.
You tell him, John! Wait, what does this have to do with basketball? Or Philadelphia? Or Kevin Garnett?!?
Mitchell, of course, is referring to the disgusting tweets made after Ward’s game-winning goal to beat the Bruins in the first round of the NHL playoffs last month.
The tweets ignited a national conversation about race with the microscope again focused on the Boston area, but what Mitchell and several others fail to realize is that a majority of the few dozen people who sent out the tweets were not from Boston. They hailed from Canada, Connecticut, and other parts of the U.S. and world. Some were from Boston, but several weren’t.
So, that makes Boston a racist town? Or, did Mitchell (like several others before him) just paint the city with an unbelievably broad brush? I’ll acknowledge the city has a history of racial conflicts and some race-charged incidents, but if we’re talking about right now (which we are), I’ll go with the latter.
Mitchell then takes his column down a disgusting path with a largely empty threat to Kevin Garnett, who is black, if he cannot win an NBA title this year.
“So my advice to you, KG, is that you’re better off winning this series, the next one and then the next. Because if you let those stalwart fans down, who knows what they’ll unleash on you. We do know what they are capable of. Take that how you want.”
It’s just dangerous to accuse a large group of people (in this case, millions of people) of something so inflammatory. It’s even more dangerous to write an equally inflammatory column threatening an active player.
And it’s downright baffling Mitchell struggled to hit the 250-word mark about a topic he’s clearly passionate about.
(For those counting, I’m at 477 words.)