BOSTON (CBS) — Like head coach Brad Stevens, Celtics president Danny Ainge wishes Jae Crowder wouldn’t have taken to Twitter to voice his displeasure with Celtics fans cheering for Gordon Hayward before Tuesday night’s game.
But also like Stevens, Ainge doesn’t think his small forward doesn’t like wearing green anymore.
“I’m not worried about Jae Crowder at all. He’s a true pro and loves being a Celtic. He loves his teammates and they love him,” Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday. “What he does day-in and day-out is much more than a tantrum on Twitter.”
Ainge said that fans cheering for Hayward has been greatly exaggerated, as he didn’t even notice it from the stands on Tuesday. He even joked that if fans cheering for an opposing small forward gets Crowder fired up, he wouldn’t mind them doing it before every game. After hearing the crowd’s reaction to the soon-to-be free agent, Crowder went out and dropped 21 points in Boston’s 115-104 win over the Jazz.
Still, Ainge wishes Crowder kept his beef to himself, or at least in the locker room.
“I don’t like it when our players use Twitter to go back and forth with fans, the media or just trolls out there. To get caught up in that doesn’t make sense,” said Ainge.
Crowder even responded to one fan telling him to “take it or leave it” by saying he’d be fine going somewhere else.
“That’s not the best response,” Ainge said with a laugh. “That’s not what we talk about in public relations training. But Jae knows it, and I’m not worried about it.”
Ainge doesn’t think Crowder has hurt his own perception in the mind of Celtics fans.
“First of all, he hasn’t done a dent in my mind. Some fans, maybe, but most people aren’t really paying attention to it that much. I didn’t know it was a big deal; I was in a tunnel working, got into my car late and was listening to [The Adam Jones Show] and realized it was a big deal. I thought, ‘man, it’s amazing how something like this has turned into a big story.’ I guess that’s the world we live in. I continue to say that, and we have a president using Twitter to combat people’s views. I don’t understand it and I don’t agree with it, but I don’t think it’s done any damage to Jae or anybody. It’s a moment Jae didn’t like, but I think he should have kept it to himself or with his teammates.”:
Ainge said he isn’t on Twitter much, checking it every few days, but he does follow all of his players just in case something like Tuesday night does occur.
He also dismissed any notion that Celtics fans cheering for Hayward was racially motivated.
“I think we all know that that isn’t true. That’s sort of silly,” said Ainge. “It’s well documented the players we’re trying to sign, even at Jae’s position last summer. That’s silly; we’re trying to get good players.”
Listen to the full interview below, including Ainge’s thoughts on Isaiah Thomas’ current run (and future payday), Jaylen Brown’s progress and the trade interest around Brooklyn’s draft pick: