Jeanie Buss Praises Caron Butler’s Story For The Players' Tribune
Jill Painter Lopez
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss urged people to read the story Caron Butler penned for The Players' Tribune called “This is a WE thing.”
Butler, a 14-year NBA veteran who played for the Lakers in 2004-2005, wrote about how he was arrested more than 15 times and hopes that racism and police brutality can be eradicated with the help of everyone.
“Thank you Caron for sharing your personal story," Buss wrote on Instagram. "Use the link to read the entire story. Powerful, personal and optimism that change will happen."
Butler wrote the piece after the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, who died after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes in Minnesota on May 25.
Butler wrote about his many run-ins with police officers, including one in the early 2000s when he was an NBA player. He said he was pulled over in his home state of Wisconsin for running a red light on a bicycle.
"They tried to diminish me and embarrass me in front of the community by having me out there for more than two hours," he wrote. "I was like, 'Just give me the ticket.' They’re like, Yo, where else do you have properties at? Just using their 'authority' to give me the third degree, the whole nine of seeing how much they could make it this public embarrassment."
Butler said after watching the video of Floyd pleading with police officers that he couldn't breathe, he was reminded of his own interactions with cops.
“When I saw brother George Floyd being pinned down and kneeled upon … a whole lot of images flashed through my mind,” Butler wrote. “These memories came back. And I’m gon’ tell you like this, as someone arrested more than 15 times in my life: I almost never had a positive interaction with the police.”
Butler said he'd often get pulled over for "suspicion" when he was growing up. He said being arrested is deeply dehumanizing.
“It’s the most degrading thing EVER when you’re arrested," he 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 f---ing deflates you."
Butler added that following Floyd's death, he feels encouraged by so many people coming together to make change regarding racial injustice.
“All the media outlets that used to pivot away from even talking about this stuff — now they’re pivoting toward us," he wrote. "The world we live in is finally talking about racial injustice. The conversation is finally at the table. Now, you have to take your seat at that table and focus on the next step: solutions. You have to plan, and be strategic — and most of all, keep on pushing. You have to keep on pushing for the future that you want.“
Butler added that it's time for everyone to "draw a line in the sand" and speak up for what's right.
"I'm tired of people calling and texting saying, 'I don't know what to say right now,'" he wrote. "Man, just say something. I don’t give a f--- if you gotta issue a statement, send a tweet, record a video, quote someone smarter than you, make a T-shirt, whatever — but you have to say something. You can’t just sit by and be quiet right now and play the PC shit. No more PC shit. No more politics."
Butler wrote a book “Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA,” in 2015 in which he details his journey from trying to prove himself on the streets as a gang member and drug dealer during his childhood, to becoming an NBA veteran who won a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
Butler is a TV analyst, businessman, philanthropist and activist. He lives in Woodland Hills with his family.