The Boston Celtics have long been a leader when it comes to hiring the right person for the job, regardless of race or gender. Now in the midst of a head coaching search, the front office lost an opportunity to continue that tradition during the decision-making process that led to the need for a new coach in the first place.
Just months after making some of the NBA’s most substantive commitments to racial equity as part of a deal struck with the Player’s Association to resume play in the context of some of the most intense civil rights protests in decades, the Celtics could have been the leaders they have been in the past on such issues when it came to choosing a new team president.
For whatever reason, they chose to forego an open hiring process and instead elevate former head coach Brad Stevens to team president immediately.
Now, fresh on the heels of internal and external discussions of overt and systemic racism regarding the team’s fans and community, Boston is gearing up to hire a head coach to replace Brad Stevens after his promotion to team president. A job he has been seen in some corners as having unfairly been handed without qualified women and men of color even having a chance to apply. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1403215451929387011?s=20
Perhaps in response to such criticism, or maybe simply returning to usually-progressive ways, the team is now reported to have interest in a field of candidates with many who are Black, the potential for a female head coach even on the table in what would be a ground-breaking move. However, there have also been names floated by the press whose character and past have rightfully been called out by local media. Still others are reportedly in the mix with allegations of sexual assault in their past. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1403434581471211530?s=20
It should go without saying that the Celtics will do themselves no favors by hiring a coach whose past is a potential public relations nightmare, and an affront for a substantial part of their fanbase. Without wading into specific examples, it’s fair to say there are a number of candidates without such baggage, and ones who also fit the mold of the sort of candidates the Celtics and the NBA ought to be making sure get a chance to interview for positions like Boston’s head coaching job. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1403440687459209216?s=20
Those chances should not be seen as pressure to give the position to someone who doesn’t deserve it, or isn’t the most qualified or best fit — just the same chance anyone else in the running has to prevent the often close-knit structures of NBA teams from perpetually operating as an old boy’s club. The Celtics find themselves in a world where continuing their long history of progressivism in who they offer contracts to requires not only finding the best candidate for the job regardless of the color of their skin or gender. But also the candidates who have managed to steer clear of the sort of allegations professional sports teams have been too quick to brush under the rug in the past. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=51883,51870,51867,51861] [listicle id=51866]