I really don't care for the Celtics. Yeah, I liked Larry Bird and appreciate what Bill Russell was able to accomplish, but the old Garden is gone and Kevin Garnett annoys me.
So when Glen Davis (a.k.a. Big Baby) hit that dagger to beat the Orlando Magic the other night, I was disappointed; the sooner the Celtics are out of the play-offs, the better, I say. However, the lingering moment of that incident was, after hitting the shot, when an exuberant Big Baby accidentally knocked the hat off a teenager as he ran back up the court. You really have to see the video to understand this. The kid was seated right next to the Magic's bench on the sideline. And in order to see better, the kid was less than a foot away from the line so, when Davis avoided knocking into a ref, inadvertently made contact with the kid.
No harm, no foul, eh?
Apparently not, because kid's father had to be "that guy" and demanded Davis and the NBA apologize for the contact. My sympathy is non-existent here for numerous reasons:
1. The kid was practically one foot off the court, closer than many coaches or players stand. His position opened him up to getting touched. He should be thankful it wasn't Shaq barrelling down the court.
2. The actual contact was minimal. Yeah, it was enough to knock the kid's hat off, but you get more contact than that making your way to the nacho line.
3. It wasn't as if it was a toddler getting plowed over. This kid is probably bigger than I am.
4. The kid's dad has to be loaded; you can't sit that closely to the sideline in an NBA play-off game without mucho dinero. Am I supposed to feel bad for a kid who has better seats than many of the bench players?
No apology is needed here. No matter how much I dislike the Celtics, I declare that Davis did nothing wrong. Anyway, that's not even why I brought all this up.
What really set me off was the language that the kid's father used in order to make this demand. Davis, the kid's father claimed, was acting like a "raging animal with no regard for fans' personal safety."
Now I'm not Al Sharpton, but that's downright racist.
You might say I'm being incendiary by calling this, but I can't avoid seeing it. Throughout our country's history, the common degradation of the black male is that he is nothing more than an uncontrollable animal. This is the rhetoric that was used to prevent African Americans from home ownership, employment, voting, and even freedom. Making a connection to Davis' euphoria to animalism is ridiculously irresponsible. Is this kid's dad a racist? I have no idea. But that is indeed a racist statement. It goes to show us that even electing a black president isn't enough to cure our country's race issues.
I know some of you might be turned off at my pointing this out, but living for almost four years in a predominantly black neighborhood should make me more aware of this kind of thing. Do not be deceived: language is powerful. Even if it's a simplistic "those people," it testifies to how we view the world. We all have issues with people, but having issues with peoples is out of line.
Dumb can be forgiven. Prejudice needs to be purged.
UPDATE: Apparently the father finally realized how amazingly ridiculous he reacted and apologized.