To celebrate Juneteenth, the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics took to the streets in our Nation’s Capitol to peacefully protest the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Louisville’s own Breonna Taylor, among other racial injustices.
John Wall, along with fellow Washington basketball stars Bradley Beal and Natasha Cloud led the charge on Saturday.
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) June 19, 2020
In a live discussion with Caron Butler confronting systemic racism and police brutality on the NBA’s Twitter page Friday, Wall explained the importance of this peaceful protest.
“I’m doing the best I can. As a father with two boys, these killings hit a little different because sometimes I wonder if I can make it back home to be around my kids if something ever happened, or if they’re growing up, what type of environment or troubles they might have to deal with, so that’s the most important thing for me,” Wall said. “It’s just not something that I want right now. You get more angry and it hurts a lot more right now because you see what these other families are going through.”
Most notably, Wall, a former number one pick and five-time NBA All-Star, gave an eye-opening recount of bad police encounters since he’s been in the league.
“I’m scared to get pulled over,” Wall told Butler. “I’ve seen some people on Twitter when I said that say, ‘Well, what are you scared to get pulled over for, they might want an autograph?’ I said, ‘No, it don’t work like that. I’m still a black athlete in America in this world and I know how it’s going.”
Wall went onto explain, even as an NBA superstar, getting pulled over as a Black man in America is not easy.
Wall recalled a moment when Washington, D.C. police pulled him over following a Wizards practice. The officer saw an issue with his turn signal and asked him to remove his window tint right on the spot. He was blocks from his home, but officers removed him from his vehicle. The situation was resolved without violence once bystanders began to notice who he was.
“If I have to get pulled over, I’m going to a gas station or I’m going somewhere where there’s a lot of people and a lot of lights are at,” he said. “And I’m scared to get pulled over on the highway. You don’t want it to get dark at night and pulled over on the highway because you never know what can happen.”
Along with the march, the Washington Wizards made some temporary changes to their logo to celebrate Juneteenth.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 19, 2020