On Sunday, the Boston Police Department stirred up controversy when it decided to praise a white basketball coach for Black History Month.
On Saturday night, the department tweeted about Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach.
According to the Boston Globe, the tweet from the police department read:
“In honor of #BlackHistoryMonth we pay tribute to the @celtics legend #RedAuerbach for being the 1st @NBA coach to draft a Black player in 1950, field an all African-American starting five in 1964 and hire the league’s 1st African-American head coach (Bill Russell) in 1966.”
In an ironic twist, the Boston police department thought that what Black History Month needed was recognition of the contributions of more white people to the sport of basketball.
It’s certainly important to remember the “firsts” in history, but as many on social media pointed out, why highlight the white coach and not the Black players? At best, the original tweet shows a serious lack of sensitivity and understanding, and at worst, it is an example of ignoring Black excellence in a month that is supposed to celebrate it.
Former City Councilor Tito Jackson even took to Twitter to join the criticism writing, “So we already have the shortest month and now this. Please file this under Hell Nah aka Not Having it aka Not Ok.”
The police department backpedals
Less than an hour after the tweet was posted, the department took it down, according to Fox News. The tweet was replaced by one that honored Bill Russell, the first African-American head coach in the NBA.
The department has also since issued an apology for the oversight.
“BPD realizes that an earlier tweet may have offended some and we apologize for that. Our intentions were never to offend. It has been taken down,” they wrote on Monday.
BPD realizes that an earlier tweet may have offended some and we apologize for that. Our intentions were never to offend. It has been taken down.
— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) February 12, 2018