BOSTON (WHDH) - A Braintree man faced a judge on Wednesday after police say he threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving following the Brooklyn Nets win over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Sunday night.
Cole Buckley, 21, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court Wednesday on a charge of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Buckley was also ordered to stay from TD Garden, according to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Court documents indicate Buckley is not facing hate crime charges but Rollins said race-related criminal charges are not off the table.
“It is not lost on me that the NBA is overwhelmingly black men and we have fans who are overwhelmingly white men who believe they can engage in this type of behavior,” Rollins said. “It is not appropriate and it certainly is not going happen here in Suffolk County.”
As Irving walked off the court following the Nets’ 141-126 victory over the Celtics, Buckley allegedly threw a Dasani water bottle at him.
A witness told officers that the bottle grazed Irving’s head, police said.
“(It’s) just underlying racism, and treating people like they’re in a human zoo,” Irving said after the incident. “Throwing stuff at people, saying things. There’s a certain point where it gets to be too much… As a Black man playing in the NBA, dealing with a lot of this stuff, it’s fairly difficult. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Buckley is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Aug. 8.
That same night, another fan was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
After scoring 25 points in Brooklyn’s series-clinching victory in Game 5, Irving could be seen hugging Boston players. He later told reporters that he hopes to leave the bad blood he has had with the Celtics in the past.
“There was a lot going on personally with me in Boston that a lot people don’t know about,” Irving said. “To see some of the emotions that were lingering on over the past year-and-a-half…I’m just glad it’s settled.”
Several other National Basketball Association venues have dealt with unruly fans this playoff season.
A fan threw popcorn at Russell Westbrook during a game between the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers, another fan spit on Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young during a game against the New York Knicks, and in the latest incident, a fan had was tackled after running onto the court during a Wizards/76ers game.
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