The Boston Police Department caused a stir by selecting the legendary Red Auerbach as its honoree for Black History Month. Despite Auerbach being one of the all-time great coaches of any sport, the 9-time NBA champ is not a Black man. Thus, everyone from Celtics fans who celebrate him to the mayor of Boston has been up in arms over the tribute.
“Yesterday's tweet from the Boston Police Department was completely inappropriate and a gross misrepresentation of how we are honoring Black History Month in Boston,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement condemning BPD. Walsh followed his rebuke up by affirming his commitment to remembering "Black leaders, activists and trailblazers" beyond February.
The mayor's reference to the department's tweet is an allusion to a controversial message posted to the Boston Police's Twitter page over the weekend. In the post, Auerbach is credited “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.” The comments section would reflect such a poor reception that the BPD removed the tweet and issued an apology the very next day.
Boston's branch of the NAACP has since scolded the BPD, responding that "celebrating a white man for hiring black people is beyond perplexing. It is sad. It is very sad."