Jaylen Brown's comments about Celtics' environment being 'toxic' amidst losing streak were taken wildly out of context


Kyrie Irving has spent the better part of the new year chastising the media for taking his quotes out of context and unnecessarily hounding him about his pending free agency. Most of Irving’s criticisms are easily dismissed, since he’s played into the drama more than anybody, publicly complimenting the Knicks and holding a viral All-Star Game chat with Kevin Durant. 

But Irving’s younger teammate, Jaylen Brown, has a legitimate gripe with the press. In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, Brown said the environment around the Celtics was combustible prior to their resounding 128-95 win over the Warriors Tuesday. He used some strong words to describe the situation.

“The losing, it’s not a good feeling. I’m not too good about that,” he said. “Because right now it’s not good. It’s toxic. I can’t really point out one thing. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just going to try to be part of the change. I’m going to try to do my best. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Within hours, Brown’s use of the word “toxic” was blasted on headlines across the clickbait digital sphere, with Bleacher Report saying he described the team in that manner.

Jaylen Brown says the Celtics are "toxic": “I’m not feeling good at all. The losing, it’s not a good feeling” per @GwashburnGlobe https://t.co/qbNfyqPTff pic.twitter.com/EnpcaNvVb9

— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) March 5, 2019

Of course, Brown was speaking about the “toxic” environment around the Celtics after losing five of six games, and wasn’t referring to the team or season as a whole. It doesn’t take a lot of critical reading skills to understand that.

But sure enough, Brown’s comments became the No. 1 story in NBA circles Tuesday. The phrase “Jaylen Brown toxic” generates about 5,590 results on Google News. It was the latest piece in the season-long Celtics melodrama. 

While lots of the criticism surrounding the Celtics has been warranted, the C’s proved against the Warriors they’re still capable of rising to the occasion on the court –– which Irving referenced last month when he said he was just focused on the playoffs. 

Brown played a big role in the Celtics’ defining win, dropping 18 points off the bench and playing ferocious defense on Kevin Durant. He also landed the dunk of the season.

JAYLEN. BROWN. -------- pic.twitter.com/KqlNfc0Ig7

— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) March 6, 2019

Oh, and Brown also took part in a fluff segment with TNT’s Caron Butler, saying he thinks Terry Rozier is his funniest teammate and Al Horford is the smartest. Given the way everything is psychoanalyzed, it’s probably only a matter of time before Brown’s innocuous comments are framed as some sort of jab at Irving. 

There is more than enough real drama around the Celtics, and the fact that Brown called the current environment “toxic” is notable in and of itself. Exaggerating for clicks is unnecessary, tempting as it may be.