Bulls

Bulls players have 'no regrets' after airing grievances, front office disappointed with distraction

Bulls players have 'no regrets' after airing grievances, front office disappointed with distraction

No backing down, no regrets from the main participants of the latest merry-go-round of Bulls drama.

Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo each spoke to the media after being fined by the Bulls, according to Rondo. Each gave strong statements about the state of affairs in the last 48 hours and after criticism from Rondo, Wade and Butler said they would have no issues having a working relationship after Rondo's pointed Instagram post Thursday afternoon.

The Bulls had a team meeting before morning shootaround Friday, where apparently all grievances were aired, and the meeting was attended by GM Gar Forman and VP John Paxson.

"Good meeting. Grown men talking to grown men," Wade said. "(Forman) has a role and a position and he didn't like the way the way things were said and done. He decided to put a halt to that and hold us accountable."

Forman said in his statement that the public statements were unacceptable, without taking questions from the media.

"We were extremely disappointed that several players chose to speak out after our last game," Forman said. "Every team has issues and it's our strong belief that when you have issues or critical comments that you keep those issues or critical comments in house, that it is not shared through you (media) guys, that it is not shared through social media.

"It's now how we want to operate; it is totally unacceptable, and we made it very clear to the players that were involved that it's unacceptable."

[Scalabrine: Rajon Rondo is 100 percent right]

Wade said he accepted whatever punishment management came down with, but reiterated he has no issues with anyone in the locker room.

"I can't speak for everybody. (But) I have no ill intentions or hard feelings for anyone," Wade said. "I want everyone to succeed in this locker room, this year and beyond, in this game."

Wade seemed more than comfortable in his own skin in addressing his comments and standing as a leader on this team.

"Like I always tell everybody, if I get in front of you guys 10 times, I may not get it right 10 out of 10," Wade said. "But for the most part, I try to say the things that I feel and I try to be truthful. I can always live with that. When you're a leader, certain things you do and say aren't always going to be the popular thing in the locker room. You have to understand this. 

"That's why some guys don't want to be leaders. Some guys want to be in the middle of the pack so they can be liked. As a leader, sometimes you can't be liked. It's the harsh truth and harsh reality. I'm probably not liked in this locker room today. I'm OK with that."

Rondo took aim to Wade's leadership style and the fact he doesn't practice all the time, indirectly comparing Wade to the players who ushered him in with the Boston Celtics in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Wade coolly replied, "I'm 35. I'm not practicing every day."

"I have a professional relationship with anybody who I need to and I have to," Wade said of Rondo. "I have no problem. I've been a big supporter with Rondo out in the public eye with what he's been dealing with and being taken out of the starting lineup and how he's handled it. I have no issues, no problems with Rondo at all."

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

All three, along with Fred Hoiberg taking questions and Forman issuing a statement without taking questions, addressed the events in differing detail.

"We met with all of them this morning," Hoiberg said. "We went in that room and hashed a lot of things out, and we're going to move forward from this. A lot of things were handled from within, and we're going to leave it that way."

Butler, who found himself in the eye of a storm last year after saying Hoiberg should coach the team harder, didn't seem to mind the attention, even claiming he thrives on controversy.

"I'm sorry but I like controversy," Butler said. "I like it. Butting heads. At the end of the day we're all we got anyways so you gotta go out and battle with the guys that's around here. That's that."

As for Rondo, Butler said, "I'm gonna come in here every day. Your opinion is your opinion. I'm gonna still come out and go to war with you. I don't have anything negative to say to him. You spoke your mind, I spoke my mind, move on."

Rondo felt he was speaking for the unheard, the young players who don't have a voice but were criticized by Wade and Butler, to varying degrees.

"I said what I said. People can take it how they want to," Rondo said. "I made a statement. I wasn't angry, it wasn't a rant. Just my thoughts."

When asked if he was sticking up for the young guys, Rondo said, "Yes, absolutely. I wasn't trying to be the bad guy or talk down to anyone, but the young guys, some who didn't have a voice or a certain platform, I wanted to speak freely and say what I thought. I have a great relationship with a lot of them, pretty much all of them, and they got it out today.''

Rondo took affront to the notion the young players don't work as hard on their games, noting that through his benching, they're in the Advocate Center trying to get better.

"Certain comments were made and I just felt like I needed to make a statement for my team," Rondo said. "One thing I loved about this team that was different from the past the last couple years of my career, was that when I got here the young guys were in the gym. 

"I love to comeback myself at night, but when I came back there were seven or eight guys here getting their work in. I disagree with the comment about the work ethic. Like guys want to win, guys take their job very seriously. And they're young, so they needed to be guided the right way."

To a man, each of them felt like the strong words could be productive in the long run even though the drama in the moment has added some unwanted attention in the eyes of the front office, started by Wade and Butler's comments following Wednesday's loss to Atlanta, capped off by Rondo's elaborative and even scathing Instagram post Thursday afternoon where he criticized the leadership on the floor.

Rondo intimated Butler and Wade have influence on the coaching staff, which Butler didn't necessarily deny.

"I don't think like that. I just play ball. Maybe? If I have a concern, I go to them," Butler said. "That don't mean he listens to me all the time, but I would hope that he takes my opinion into mind."

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr joined Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin, Demario Davis and Andrew McCutchen to co-author an op-ed offering concrete solutions to address some of the problems raised by protesters across the country.

To achieve a more equitable justice system for people of color, the op-ed says police need to be held accountable for their actions.

“When these killings occur, we tweet, we write letters, we make videos demanding accountability,” Kerr et al. said. “We protest and we vow to change hearts and minds so that our young men can run through the streets without fear.

“And soon after, we see another officer kill a black person, usually a man, and usually without consequence. Where, we wonder, is the ‘accountability’ allegedly so important when it comes to arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating young people of color?”

The problem, Kerr et al. say, is that police supervisors simply don’t have the power to take away a bad officer’s badge.

“Among the greatest obstacles to cleaning up our police departments are police union contracts, which hamstring officials’ ability to fire officers who engage in bad and even deadly behavior,” Kerr et al. said. “Those contracts, nearly always negotiated behind closed doors, have clauses that determine how misbehavior may be disciplined. Many contracts prevent departments from investigating reports made by anonymous civilians. They allow officers accused of serious misconduct to review the complaint and the evidence before making statements to investigators, ensuring that they can craft their story to best explain whatever the evidence will show...

“In the rare case that a department pursues disciplinary action, many contracts require arbitration, which almost always results in reduced sanctions. In a survey of data compiled from 37 police departments in 2017, The Washington Post found that of 1,881 officers fired since 2006, 451 appealed and received their jobs back — nearly 25%.”

RELATED: Mitchell Trubisky breaks social media silence to support George Floyd protests

The op-ed says these contracts are renegotiated every few years, so if you’d like them to change it’s not hopeless.

“In Philadelphia, for example, the mayor renegotiates the police union contract next year. In Minneapolis, it is renegotiated every three years and is in negotiations now. We must demand that our elected officials remove terms explicitly designed to protect officers from investigation and discipline if we are going to have accountability and safety.”

The second suggestion the op-ed makes is doing away with “qualified immunity” for cops, which protects them “from legal liability for even the most outrageous conduct,” unless a legal precedent has been set with “basically identical facts.”

They elaborate by saying “qualified immunity” can be used to protect cops from wide-ranging accusations.

“One court, for example, found an officer had qualified immunity after he let his dog maul a homeless man,” Kerr et al. said. “In another case, officers who tried to steal $225,000 while on the job received immunity.”

Again, the heart of the matter for Kerr, Popovich, Boldin, Davis and McCutchen is accountability.

“Citizens face consequences for breaking the law and harming others; our government should make sure officers are no different.”

RELATED: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts calls black leaders 'you people,' apologizes

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NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA hereafter) and commissioner Adam Silver recently joined the chorus of voices speaking out in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

A statement from the NBCA, signed by 33 coaches and almost 180 assistant coaches, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports:

 

The statement pinpoints “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism” as “shameful, inhuman and intolerable.”

And their call for “positive change” will reportedly be followed by some action. The NBCA has also formed a “committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities”  Wojnarowski reports, which will be comprised of at least Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale, Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, JB Bickerstaff and Quin Snyder.

Already, many in the NBA community have acted to protest systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. Stephen Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie demonstrated with many in Minneapolis. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to lead a peaceful march in Atlanta that also featured Malcolm Brogdon. Lonnie Walker aided in clean-up efforts after a night of protests in San Antonio. The list goes on from there.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote in an internal memo to NBA employees obtained by ESPN that he was “heartened” by those “speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.” Silver also called for introspection and promised the NBA will “continue its efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue and support for organizations working towards justice and equality.” He expressed condolences to the Floyd family, outrage over the wrongful deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and an obligation to not ignore the issues of “racism, police brutality and racial injustice.”

As of this writing, 26 of 30 NBA teams have issued statements on Floyd’s passing, either as entities or through organization spokespeople, ranging from executives to coaches. Hopefully, the words of many lead to action — and that action to appreciable change.

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