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."