Knicks cross line with funeral trash talk?

Published On May 2, 2013 | By Arielle Aronson

In nearly every playoff series in every sport, there is always bound to be some off-court or off-field trash talk, but the New York Knicks may have crossed a line before Game 5 of their first round series against the Celtics.

According to a story in the New York Daily News, Knicks forward Kenyon Martin told his teammates to “wear black” to and from the game Wednesday because it’s “funeral colors”. In Martin’s eyes, the Knicks would be attending the Celtics’ funeral.

Martin’s comments alone don’t seem that bad. After all, the Knicks were up 3-0 on the Celtics before Boston pulled out wins in Game 4 and Game 5, but no NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series.

But given the context and timing, Martin’s comments were offensive to some in the Boston area. It only got worse once the Knicks actually did show up in all black. Corinne Grousbeck, Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck‘s wife, called the Knicks “tacky” on Twitter in response to the funeral comments.

Like many others in the Greater Boston area, the Grousbecks have been battling through the swirling emotions and trials of the aftermath of the marathon bombings. When Wyc Grousbeck made an appearance on WEEI radio the day after the marathon, he said multiple members of the Celtics ownership group were injured in the attacks, one seriously. Corinne asked for prayers for a member of the ownership family on Twitter.

The disgust with the Knicks’ behavior extends beyond the Grousbeck family. Fox Sports writer Bill Reiter also called out the Knicks for their Game 5 funeral comments and dress code. After calling Wednesday night “a funeral, most surely, for tact and good sense”, Reiter asked,

What were these guys thinking? … It was disrespectful. It was inappropriate. It was wrong-headed. And, even if you want to argue falsely that the two things are not connected – if you want to try to kid yourself that 16 days should be enough for a city to wipe away the blood and scars and pain and let another city mock its mourning – there’s still good sense.

Meanwhile, other writers included Martin’s funeral comments in their game recaps, but never connected the comments to the mourning in Boston since the marathon. And, once the Celtics beat the Knicks in Game 5, many fans on Twitter simply treated the funeral comments and clothing as a joke.

What do you think of the Knicks wearing black and claiming to attend Boston’s funeral? Did they go too far in the wake of the marathon bombings, or are people just being overly sensitive? Let us know in the comments below.

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About The Author

Arielle Aronson is a sports writer and recent graduate from Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Print Journalism Magna Cum Laude. Arielle has a passion for sports cultivated from growing up with two older brothers. She also enjoys playing the piano, reading and traveling.