Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, appearing on Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM) Thursday morning, admitted forward Glen Davis needs to "grow up" after shouting an obscenity at a fan during Wednesday's loss to the Detroit Pistons.
"It is a big deal," said Rivers. "Unfortunately, I didn't know it had transpired. I didn't know until after the game, talking to the press pool, it got brought up, and it was a big deal to the press. I still don't have the clear picture, but I'm assuming whoever watched the game heard it and it was very clear... That stuff can't happen.
"I don't think it's a huge step backwards [in Davis' maturity], but it is a step backwards. Glen Davis has to grow up."
Davis, who missed the first 27 games of the season after fracturing his right thumb while fighting with a friend two days before the start of the 2009-10 campaign, expressed disappointment in his own maturity after the off-the-court incident, especially because of the way it set the Celtics back entering the year.
Davis, who's emotional status was questioned when he was spotted crying on the bench after some terse words from teammate Kevin Garnett in December of 2008, has seen his playful "Big Baby" moniker used against him because of the emotional outbursts.
Rivers admitted he didn't hear exactly what the fan was screaming Wednesday night in Detroit, but felt a verbal confrontation was avoidable.
"It's common sense, when a fan is yelling and it's offending the people around him, then the guy will be removed," said Rivers. "If a player points or coach points to security, there's a very good chance that person will be removed."
The jeering fan near the Celtics' bench repeatedly called Davis "fat boy" and told him to lose some weight. Davis' response was audible on both the Boston radio and television broadcasts of the game.
Rivers admitted that Detroit is one of the toughest arenas to play in given the crowd and, while he was glad it didn't escalate to any sort of physical confrontation like the brawl that occurred at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004, he was disappointed Davis got verbally involved.
"I've heard some vile things said to me and to players -- it's amazing what you hear," said Rivers. "You should turn around, point to security and let them deal with it."
Rivers then referenced the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday earlier this week, noting: "This is what he heard and how many times he turned his cheek -- if he can do it, why can't we do it on a basketball court."
Rivers said Wednesday that Davis was unlikely to face disciplinary action from the Celtics, but he might from the NBA.