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Wizards players voice disagreement with President Donald Trump, will discuss national anthem response

Wizards players voice disagreement with President Donald Trump, will discuss national anthem response

The Washington Wizards' 2017-18 media day came at an interesting time on Monday, fresh off a weekend where President Donald Trump crossed over into sports to create controversy in both the NBA and NFL. Several Wizards players had voiced their displeasure with what Trump said about Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry on social media. On Monday, they were offered the opportunity to speak in-depth and without constrictive 140-character limits.

Shooting guard Bradley Beal, for one, had some strong words for Trump, who resides just blocks from where the Wizards play their games.

"If we can't exercise our freedom of speech, then what are the amendments for? I know he's president, but at the same time I don't support anything that he represents or what he's doing," Beal said.

"Honestly, that's not a leader. For you to come out and for one disrespect a whole sport the whole world loves and call people by the names SOBs, that's out of pocket to me. You have guys who won a championship and they have the freedom of deciding whether or not they want to go. One man decides he doesn't want to go, how in the world can you just take it away? That doesn't make any sense to me. To me, you're a clown. That's unacceptable. That's not what a leader does. Your job is to bring everybody together. Since you've gotten in office, that hasn't been the case. There are so many things going on in the world. Puerto Rico doesn't have water or power and they're part of the U.S. You're focused on guys kneeling for the national anthem."

Point guard John Wall was brief in his comments, but he made it clear he is not a fan of how the president has handled the last few days.

"I don't like anything that he's been saying. I don't respect it," Wall said. "We have bigger issues in this world that you need to focus on than somebody taking a knee."


Kaepernick and protests of the national anthem were a big deal last season as well. The Wizards decided to show solidarity by locking arms during the national anthem before games. But after Trump's recent comments calling Kaepernick a "son of a b****," those protests have taken on new forms in the NFL and other sports.

Head coach Scott Brooks says there will be a conversation between him and the WIzards players on how they will respond.

"I haven't had any discussions with the team as of yet, but there definitely will be discussions. It's a hot topic right now and rightfully so," Brooks said. "We've always done things together. I think it's stronger when you do it in a group setting. Whatever we decide on, we're going to do it together."

Those who are from other countries were also asked about Trump on Monday at Capital One Arena. Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi each have unique perspectives being from Europe, but as residents of Washington, D.C. who make their living in the United States.

Mahinmi said it has been an interesting time in his family, as his wife and daughters were all born in the U.S. Gortat didn't say much, other than he's happy with the president he has back home in Poland.

"I'm truly grateful for a great president in my country," Gortat said with a chuckle. "It's tough. I will say that I'm truly proud of the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, and what he stands for and what he represents."



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With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

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With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

The Philadelphia 76ers will have two No. 1 overall picks make their NBA debuts on Wednesday night in Markelle Fultz (2017) and Ben Simmons (2016). They are in for a challenge with the Wizards, one of the best teams in basketball, and with guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Wall and Beal know that challenge well. They were both top draft picks in their own right, Wall the first pick in 2010 and Beal the third pick in 2012. They can recall in specifics their first games in the NBA and how humbling they were.

"My first game, I was going against Dwight Howard. It was fun," Wall said. "There was a lot of pressure. There were a lot of people talking."


It's often said that the point guard position is as deep as it's ever been nowadays. The last three MVP awards have gone to point guards, for instance.

There were some good ones back in 2010, too.

"I remember in a five-game span I played like [Rajon] Rondo, Derrick Rose here and then I went out west and played Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Russell [Westbrook]," Wall said. "I don't think it's gotten any harder than it was back then in 2010 with those five guys. You kind of understand what those guys are about when you get to see it firsthand and play against them."

Beal vividly remembers going up against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat as a 19-year-old. It wasn't easy.

"It was the Heat when they had [Dwyane Wade] and LeBron on the same team. That's when D-Wade was electrifying. He still had his quickness. He was strong as I don't know what and I was a baby at that time," he said.

"For me, it was like I was in awe because those are the guys I grew up watching and I was a fan of. Now I'm playing against them and I can't be a fan of them. It was amazing to play against them, but also an eye-opener like, I need to get better."

Now it's Fultz and Simmons' turn to see what matching up with NBA superstars is like and don't expect Wall or Beal to take it easy on them.

"I'm a competitive person, so I'm not going to back down from any challenge," Wall said.


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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 45 - Season preview with over/unders and bold predictions

NBC Sports Washington

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 45 - Season preview with over/unders and bold predictions

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman personal injury lawyers, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller previewed the 2017-18 Wizards regular season with over/unders, biggest questions and bold predictions.

NBC Sports Philly Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato also joined the show to preview the first game between the Wizards and Sixers.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!