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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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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

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