Celtics broadcast interrupts Jaylen Brown
NBC Sports Boston found itself at the center of controversy Friday night after their postgame feed of Jaylen Brown’s media availability cut short right before the 23-year-old answered a question about the Black Lives Matter protest he led in Atlanta.
— LifeLongJohnBrownFan33 (@LennyBiased) July 24, 2020
This generated an incredibly negative reaction, with some claiming the TV network was racist and somehow equating that to the narrative that all Boston sports fans are racist as well.
NBC Sports Boston responded swiftly to the public’s outrage and posted Brown’s full answer to the reporter’s original question.
We weren't able to bring you @FCHWPO's message on TV tonight discussing his experience organizing a social justice movement, so here is his entire answer following tonight's scrimmage. pic.twitter.com/uKlBNQfHyV
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 25, 2020
First thing’s first. NBC Sports Boston is not a racist organization. Flat out, plain and simple.
A TV producer’s rundown of a postgame show is incredibly structured, dedicating a very specific timeframe to postgame comments from players so they can feature their on-air talent’s take on the game. In this case, it was Draper and Scalabrine, two mainstays on the Celtics broadcast.
I don’t believe it was the station’s intention to cut Brown off. As Draper later explained on Twitter, it was an honest mistake.
Me too. Unfortunately it was an honest mistake. No ill will, malice or intentional decision to dump out at such an important juncture https://t.co/Gl1CHhgLNW
— Kyle Draper (@KyleDraperTV) July 25, 2020
However, as good as NBC Sports Boston’s intentions were, they need to be better moving forward.
Several NBA players, including Brown, were considering opting out of the NBA restart to avoid taking attention away from the fight against racial injustice. A major reason why most of them ultimately decided to play was the platform they would have to bring even more attention to issues like voter suppression and bringing justice for Breonna Taylor.
We’ve already seen Brown take large chunks of his media sessions to talk about racial issues in America. Marcus Smart and LeBron James have dedicated most of their time to talk about Breonna Taylor.
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This is the new reality in the NBA. Players demand change, so they’re not going to stop talking about it until they’re satisfied. Networks like NBC Sports Boston, ESPN and TNT need to be on high alert when these players are talking about these issues and be sure not to make the mistake of cutting them off early.
So no, NBC Sports Boston is not racist, they made a simple mistake. But that mistake shouldn’t happen. NBA players are raising awareness of important issues more than any league at the moment and it’s vital the media doesn’t pick and choose the narrative.
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