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Caron Butler speaks out about his own experience in powerful Players Tribune article

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Caron Butler speaks out about his own experience in powerful Players Tribune article

As protests carry on across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, retired NBA player and NBC Sports Washington analyst Caron Butler shared his thoughts about what needs to be done to move the country forward - and his own experiences in a piece for The Players' Tribune published on Thursday.

In one powerful section, he wrote about being arrested at least 15 times in his life.  

"It’s the most degrading thing EVER when you’re arrested," Butler wrote. "It’s like being stripped of your human rights. I don’t know what it looks like from an observational standpoint, but I can tell you this — being that person in police custody? It just [expletive] deflates you."

Butler went on to detail specific run-ins with the police, including getting pulled over while riding a bike, facing fines or arrest for wearing his pants too low or getting pulled over for fitting an incredibly broad description of a black male in a white t-shirt and jeans.

"I was like, 'Just give me the ticket.' They’re like, Yo, where else do you have properties at? " he said recounting the bicycle incident. "Just using their “authority” to give me the third degree, the whole nine of seeing how much they could make it this public embarrassment."

After getting arrested Butler explained the embarrassment of getting processed and further injustice being dealt out in the courtroom. 

"You think it gets better when you get in a courtroom? Nahhh," he wrote. That DA on the opposing side going to try to overprosecute you, because you are just a number. You are from a 'certain' community. So, they’re going ALL the way in. They already know that you don’t have resources to protect yourself. They know that the system isn’t designed to protect you."

Along with the troubling stories and experiences, Butler asked those who are bothered and upset about police brutality and social injustice to say something. Even if you're not exactly sure what to say. 

"I don’t give a [expletive] if you gotta issue a statement, send a tweet, record a video, quote someone smarter than you, make a T-shirt, whatever," Butler wrote. "But you have to say something. You can’t just sit by and be quiet right now and play the PC [expletive]. No more PC shit. No more politics. Just what’s real."

Butler is one of many professional athletes to have spoken up about their own experiences recently. Last week, Mystics guard Natasha Cloud wrote a powerful piece in The Players' Tribune condemning those who stay silent during these times.  "If you’re silent, I don’t [expletive] with you, period," she wrote. "Because I’m just out here trying to stay alive."

Read Butler's entire piece here.

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Scott Brooks, Wizards adjusting quickly to life in the NBA's bubble

Scott Brooks, Wizards adjusting quickly to life in the NBA's bubble

They began with 36 hours in quarantine, a day-and-a-half of just sitting in their hotel rooms at Disney World, waiting to get to work as the NBA aims to resume and finish the 2019-20 season.

Wizards forward Isaac Bonga talked to his friends on the phone and played XBOX. Head coach Scott Brooks FaceTimed his family. Guard Ish Smith marveled at how similar his hotel room was to the one he stayed in last summer at Disney World.

They had just arrived to Orlando, FL from Washington, D.C. for the NBA's restart. They had to wait those 36 hours and test negative for coronavirus twice before going free.

"The forced relaxation drove me crazy. It was the weirdest thing," Brooks said.

The Wizards were eventually let out of their rooms and on Thursday held their first practice at Disney World; a 5 p.m. get-together that featured real, live basketball, the type they had abstained from for weeks at their training facility due to social distancing protocol.

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They were missing a few players and not just the previously established absences of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans; their three best players. Thomas Bryant, Gary Payton II and Garrison Mathews were all reportedly away from the team; the first due to coronavirus and Mathews because of personal reasons.

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Still, getting out in the open floor and scrimmaging was a major step for the Wizards as they look towards July 31, their first regular season game.

"I thought the practice was outstanding. I was real concerned because we hadn't done anything live," Brooks said.

"I don't know how they did it, how the NBA was able to get it all done. Our facility here, our gym is pretty incredible. The weight room is amazing. The hotels are great. Everything is good. I have no complaints. It's just like a road trip for us."

"It just felt good to be out there," Smith said. "It was very similar to a normal practice that we would have, just coaches have gloves and masks on."

What happens on the court, the NBA hopes, should feel familiar. It's off-the-court that will require the biggest adjustment, as everyone there will be away from their families for an extended period of time and in an environment intended to stop the spread of a worldwide pandemic.

But the early returns from the Wizards were good. They are pleasantly surprised with the situation so far.

"Look, we get to play basketball. To me, it's like going away to basketball camp," Brooks said.

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Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Without John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, Washington's three best players, the Wizards hopes of making the playoffs in the NBA's Orlando restart have taken a hit.

On Thursday, Wizards coach Scott Brooks joined the Inside the NBA team on TNT, where Charles Barkley genuinely asked him who has to step up for the team when the games begin.

Brooks' response was unexpected, yet also hilarious. Here was the exchange:

Barkley: "Obviously, without John and Bradley, your two best players, give us two names that really need to step up for you guys."

Brooks: "Well, I think we should play that game where you name two guys on our team besides those two guys." 

Barkley: "Let me tell you something, I don't know anybody on your team! So I want you to tell us two players on your team."

To Barkley's credit, much of the national media has not paid any attention to the Wizards this season. The team only had one game on national TV this season, a November clash with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

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When basketball does resume, the Wizards are six games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth spot in the East. Washington needs to make up two games over the final eight contests in order to force a play-in game for the conference's final playoff spot.

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