A Celtics fan accused of throwing a water bottle at Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving at the TD Garden showed up in court on Wednesday.
As Irving walked off the court Sunday following Brooklyn’s 141-126 victory over the Celtics, he was nearly struck by a bottle that was tossed by 21-year-old Cole Buckley.
Irving and Nets guard Tyler Johnson turned toward the stands as police surrounded a man in a Kevin Garnett jersey in the stands before leading him out in handcuffs.
According to TMZ, Buckley entered a not guilty plea for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was ordered to stay away from TD Garden.
Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins stated to reporters “It is not lost on me that he chose to do this in a sport that is overwhelmingly Black men,” according to reporter Juliana Mazza.
“We are not going to allow this trend to continue. Period. End of story. We have not charged him with a race-based hate crime or civil rights violation, but you don’t get to behave this way.”
“(It’s) just underlying racism, and treating people like they’re in a human zoo,” Irving said.
“Throwing stuff at people, saying things. There’s a certain point where it gets to be too much,” said the Nets guard, who spent two years playing in Boston and revealed last week he was the victim of racism during his time in the city. “You see people just feel very entitled out here. … As a Black man playing in the NBA, dealing with a lot of this stuff, it’s fairly difficult. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Irving had 39 points and 11 rebounds as the Nets eliminated the Celtics.