Jaylen Brown: Systemic Racism Is Bigger Than Celtics vs. Nets Playoff Game

Blake SchusterContributor IMay 29, 2021

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 02: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics reacts as he looks to pass during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at TD Garden on May 02, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown met with reporters ahead of Game 3 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets and addressed comments made by Kyrie Irving about experiencing racism while playing in Boston. 

With the series shifting to TD Garden, Irving, a former Celtic, said he hopes there's no "subtle racism" or "belligerence" from the crowd as he makes his return to the city. 

Brown, who is out for the postseason with a wrist injury, spoke for nearly five minutes about Irving's comments, systemic racism and its existence in Boston and the country as a whole. 

Celtics on NBC Sports Boston @NBCSCeltics

Jaylen Brown addressing Kyrie Irving's comments from earlier this week: "I think that systemic racism should be addressed in Boston and the United States. However, I do not like the manner it was brought up, in terms of centering it around a playoff game." pic.twitter.com/kO2zE3aA2c

"I understand the frustration right now," Brown said

"I’ve seen what’s going on in sports and in sporting arenas with the two incidents obviously with Russell Westbrook and Trae Young, and I’m pissed, to be honest. I don’t think we should have to put up with that, and I don’t think that’s OK, by any means necessary. But when I look in the media and I see those incidents attached to like a frame of racism, yes I think it’s important to address those situations, but if the topic is racism, I think that those incidents don’t compare, or those belligerent comments don’t compare to what systemic racism is currently doing in our community and has done in the past."

Brown mentioned he did not talk to Irving, teammate Marcus Smart or Celtics team president Danny Ainge—all of whom have spoken publicly about racism in Boston—before making his comments but felt it was important to share his perspective. 

The 24-year-old Georgia native has long worked to advance social justice, dismantle systemic racism and support the Black community. Last season while the NBA was on hiatus because of the pandemic, Brown drove from Boston to Atlanta to help lead protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Brown is also a member of the LeBron James activism group "More Than A Vote."