Last night’s game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Boston Celtics was fairly routine for the first two and a half quarters. Fans watched as the two battled for control of the court with nothing out of the ordinary taking place. Then, the real action began and, when it was done, one player, Kemba Walker, had an ejection from the game and one from had been ejected from the stands – and arrested.
What Was Kemba Ejection About?
About halfway through the third quarter of the game, being contested at TD Garden in Boston, Kemba Walker suddenly collided with LaMarcus Aldridge. The Celtics point guard came in hard against Aldridge in what appeared to be a screen, but the refs didn’t see any foul on the play and let it slide.
Walker apparently wasn’t too happy with what he saw as a no-call and took his frustration out on ref Evan Scott. He is said to have broken out the colorful language dictionary, resulting in Scott charging him with two technical fouls before throwing him out of the game. Walker would state later, “I thought I was being nice. I thought the ref missed the call. … The rest is history.”
The Celtics didn’t just lose Walker, though. Head coach Brad Stevens was livid over Walker’s removal and didn’t hold back, either. While it isn’t clear exactly what he said to the refs, he must have used the same dictionary as Walker, since he was ejected, as well.
Playing in Boston and having a Boston player thrown out, as well as the team’s coach, didn’t sit too well with the fans, and the ejection resulted in multiple choruses of boos and bashes toward the officiating crew. One of the fans took things even further, expressing his disgust with the way things played out by throwing his beer onto the court, just in front of the Spurs bench. The game had to be delayed temporarily so that the mess could be cleaned up and the court made beer-spill-free once again.
During that downtime, staff were able to figure out who the culprit was that committed the real foul – tossing his beer – and he was almost immediately arrested. His identity wasn’t initially released, but it was later revealed that he was 22-year-old Justin Arnold of Everett, Massachusetts. The incident resulted in Arnold being charged with a misdemeanor and he is now looking at spending up to a month behind bars – the metal kind, not the kind with cold taps and shot glasses.
Stevens would later feel at least a little remorse for what had transpired and issued an apology following the game. He stated, “I’m sure the Celtics have already addressed this as an organization, but if not, I apologize to the Spurs for what happened out of the stands, and that can being thrown. I told [Spurs coach Greg Popovich] after the game I’m really sorry that they had to experience that … I hope [Arnold’s] not allowed in an NBA arena again.”
Chances are, he will get his wish, at least in Boston. In similar situations in the past, unruly fans have been permanently banned from entering TD Garden, and there’s little reason to doubt that Arnold will receive a similar punishment.
NBA officiating crew chief Rodney Mott weighed in on Kemba Walker’s ejection after the game, saying it was the right call. He explained to reporters, “Per rule, Kemba Walker used profanity towards an official, which led to the first technical foul. He continued to use profanity and was given a second technical foul.”
This was Walker’s first toss during his NBA career, which has spanned ten years. He was picked up by the then-Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) in 2011 and played with the team until jumping to the Celtics last year. Maybe it’s the Boston air, looking at some of the previous players and their tirades over the franchise’s history.