- Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
- Jaylen Brown sat down with The Guardian ahead of the Boston Celtics’ game in London against the Sixers for a candid interview covering a range of topics including Brown’s experience with racism and the use of sports as a “mechanism of control.”
- Brown also spoke about President Donald Trump, saying that his win “made it a lot more acceptable for racists to speak their minds.”
Boston Celtics second-year player Jaylen Brown is one of the most compelling young players in the league. He’s smart, so much so that one NBA executive reportedly claimed he was “too smart for the league” before he was drafted in 2016.
Brown is a man of many interest and thoughts, and thus always makes for a compelling intervie. His sit down with The Guardian’s Donald McRae was no different.
After discussing basketball for a bit, including the Celtics’ recent 102-88 win over the Cavaliers, the conversation turned to race, where Brown gave some incisive comments about his experience with racism growing up in the south and in the world of basketball.
“Racism definitely still exists in the South,” he says, remembering his youth in Marietta, Georgia. “I’ve experienced it through basketball. I’ve had people call me the n-word. I’ve had people come to basketball games dressed in monkey suits with a jersey on. I’ve had people paint their face black at my games. I’ve had people throw bananas in the stands.”
Brown went on to add that while he certainly has more opportunities today than he would have had in the past, racism is still very much alive in America, and has simply changed, rather than been eradicated.
“Racism definitely exists across America today. Of course it’s changed a lot – and my opportunities are far greater than they would have been 50 years ago. So some people think racism has dissipated or no longer exists. But it’s hidden in more strategic places. You have less people coming to your face and telling you certain things. But [Donald] Trump has made it a lot more acceptable for racists to speak their minds.”
Brown also offered his thoughts on sports as a “mechanism of control,” arguing that without sports there would be more disenchantment among the masses and therefore likely more anger about the injustices that permeate through our society. He argues that this aspect of sports is one of the reasons Colin Kaepernick was never offered another NFL opportunity once he had taken a stand against police brutality and systemic racism with his protest during the national anthem.
The Celtics play the Sixers in London on Thursday, January 11 at the O2 Arena, and can be viewed by American audiences as 3 p.m. ET on NBATV.