If it's up to Bradley Beal, the national anthem protest by the Wizards would last throughout the season and until police brutality is addressed nationwide.
All of the players locked arms at Verizon Center on Tuesday night and are expected to repeat the stance in Thursday's game at the Philadelphia 76ers (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
"We all agreed that we wanted to do something to show that we’re peacefully protesting it. That’s probably the calmest and least disrespectful way to do it," said Beal, a key figure in the team's decision but who wasn't available to address the topic after Tuesday's 106-95 exhibition-opening loss to the Miami Heat.
"We just came together as a team after shootaround (Tuesday) and just said we’re going to lock arms and everybody was, ‘OK, that’s a good idea.'"
Beal, the most outspoken player for the Wizards on social issues, was glad to take the lead on the topic and had conversations with John Wall who didn't play as he recovers from knee surgeries.
“It’s peacefully protesting. I’m not in favor of what’s been going on in the country. … There’s a lot of thing we need to get better at as a country. Nothing is perfect. Everything is pretty corrupt now. Protesting it, I’m all for it until something is done about it.
"I’m from St. Louis. (It has) hit home with all type of stuff over the past couple years with friends that I’ve lost to individual violence and police violence. It’s something that’s tough for a lot of us to deal with but this is our best way of doing it without (being) a big distraction.
"Hopefully, something happens to the point to where it’s getting recognized by everybody in the world because a lot of teams are doing it. ... We’re all doing it because we want something done about it. We’re realizing that we’re still citizens of this world. Even though we’re NBA players we still have a voice and we’re going to use it. This is our best way of showing it."
Coach Scott Brooks said before the season he'd support any form of peaceful protest from his team, but he also told them to back up their words with actions. Beal is in full support of that, too.
"That just showing that we're not just all talk. We have to get involved with the community. We have to do some outreach," Beal said.
"Whether it's meeting up with the police, bringing everybody together for a community basketball game or something. The smallest thing, it matters. We can't just do the protest thing and not have any action behind it."
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