Column by Bryan Edwards, Sports Editor
A lot of people enjoy sports–whether you play them, watch them or grab a controller and play against your friend on a console–almost everyone is involved with sports in some way.
However, I know there are people out there (myself included) that are very passionate about a certain sports team or teams and there is always the darker side of fandom.
On Tuesday, Aug. 22, point guard Isaiah Thomas was included in a trade between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston.
The response from the Boston faithful following the trade was not a very happy one.
Several Celtic’s fans took their Thomas jerseys, threw them on the ground and lit them on fire. I just stopped to think, Why?
Isaiah Thomas did not back out of his contract and walk away, nor did he flee during free agency–he was traded.
Not only did Thomas not have a choice in whether he stayed in Boston or not, he likely wasn’t even made aware of the trade until it had actually happened.
There is a barrier and a bias among sports fans that transcends their emotions toward a team higher than their understanding of the fact that the NBA is a business.
I know that fans were invested into Thomas and believed that he could be the point guard to bring the Celtics another title, but it wasn’t his choice to be traded from Boston, so why are people burning his jersey in the first place?
The motives behind why Cleveland fans burned LeBron James’ jersey after he left for Miami and why Kevin Durant fans did the same are understandable. Yet it still doesn’t make sense as to why you light a jersey on fire of a player that didn’t have anything to do with the decision that forced him out of Boston.
Fans need to grasp the concept that nothing is permanent and faces within organizations will always change, because when it comes down to it, the NBA is still a business and businesses are solely focused on the bottom line: profit.
The NBA is no different than the NFL, NHL or MLB, and you don’t hear stories of Adrian Peterson’s jersey burning after his departure from the Vikings and you didn’t see anyone throwing a fit about DeMarcus Cousins’ jersey after he finally left Sacramento, so what is the justification to burn Isaiah Thomas’ jersey for being traded?
Following the videos surfacing of the jerseys being burnt, LeBron came out and made a comment regarding the matter.
The three-time NBA champion said the burning of jerseys is getting ridiculous, even taking shots at some fans in a string of tweets.
“When “we” decide to do what best for us it’s “cowardly” “traitor”, etc but when it’s on the other side it’s “business” huh!?!? Ooh ok,” he tweeted.
It’s obvious the jersey burning is getting out of hand and something needs to be addressed.
At the very least, you’re wasting your money if you buy a jersey and burn it if the player on the back leaves the team.
You can burn all of the jerseys you want, because at the end of the day, the NBA is still taking your money and you have nothing to show for it but the lighter and a pile of ashes from what was your favorite player’s jersey.
Rather than dwelling on the negative and indirectly chastising a player based on the actions of his management, let’s reflect on the memories they gave you during their time on the team and remember it’s all just a business.