Black History Month is a time when we as a nation remember our civil rights heroes: Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Red Auerbach — well, let’s back up a minute on that last one.
The Boston Police Department praised Aurerbach, who seems like a pretty swell dude. He became the first NBA coach to draft a black player in 1950, fielded the first all-black team in 1950, and even hired the first African-American head coach in the league in 1966. He was also white as a piece of chalk.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) February 12, 2018
Chuck Cooper, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, and Earl Lloyd were the first black players in the NBA, and there was definitely cause for celebration there. In fact, the Boston PD honoring them would have been a great gesture for the occasion. They could have also showered praise on Bill Russell, but instead chose to hire the white man who gave him a job.
Naturally, this was seen as a bad move — especially when one considers the department’s extensive history of racism. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh put the department to shame by calling for everyone to honor black leaders every single day:
“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. We are celebrating the accomplishments and limitless contributions of the Black community to our city and the entire country, from Harriet Tubman to great leaders of today such as Chief Justice Ireland, artists like New Edition and Michael Bivins, powerful activists including Mel King and Superintendent Lisa Holmes, the first African-American woman to lead the Boston Police Academy training program. I am personally committing to the people of Boston that we will always honor our Black leaders, activists and trailblazers with the respect they deserve, not just in February, but every day and every month of the year.”
Following the much-deserved backlash, the department “apologized” for the tweet — well, for the fact that their insensitive and dickish decision to honor a white man offended people, anyway:
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
Boston’s mostly-white police department has been previously criticized for its lack of diversity. This latest tone-deaf tweet doesn’t help their position.