(Twitter/Boston Police Department)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The Boston Police Department is apologizing for a tweet concerning Black History Month that honored former Celtics coach "Red" Auerbach--a white man--for his groundbreaking work in drafting and supporting black players.
The tweet, sent Sunday night, praised Auerbach for being the first coach to draft a black player and the first to hire a black head coach--and promptly received backlash.
Tanisha Sullivan, President of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens that people of color responded with "outrage," and "disappointment."
She said she was saddened by the tweet, and thought at first it was a hoax.
"It also I think points to one of the larger issues that we as an organization have been trying to advocate for, and that is more of a heightened awareness and understanding of our history here in the city of Boston, our history as it relates to the people of Boston, as it relates to people in Boston," she said.
The BPD deleted the tweet and posted the apology above, saying they did not mean to offend. They also tweeted a Black History Month tribute to Celtics legend Bill Russell.
Sullivan took issue with the apology, too.
"The 'apology tweet' in and of itself was offensive," she said. "The tweet was offensive, period--whether there was an intention to do it or not does not matter, it was offensive. BPD should have simply said we apologize, and their next step should have been to contact leaders in this community to make sure that we knew what they were going to do next to address this issue internally."
She said that has not happened yet.
Sullivan said the incident is proof their needs to be more work on race relations and more education about the city's history when it comes to race.
"It only speaks to and affirms our beliefs that we have a lot more work to do in this city when it comes to race relations, racial understanding, racial acceptance," she said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports