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Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young speaks at peaceful protest in Oklahoma

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NORMAN, Okla. — NBA All-Star Trae Young spoke at a peaceful protest of racial injustice and police brutality in his hometown on Monday.

Young, the former University of Oklahoma star who now plays for the Atlanta Hawks, briefly addressed several hundred people at Andrews Park about the deaths of George Floyd and others.

“I know this country’s in a messed up place right now,” he said. “And for me, I just think it’s important that we all stick together and we stand up for what’s right. It’s not just going to take just me. It’s not just going to take just you. It’s all of us coming together and doing this as a collective unit.”

Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and saying that he couldn’t breathe. His death sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the country, some of which became violent.

Norman mayor Breea Clark and police chief Kevin Foster were among the other speakers at the Norman rally.

Young acknowledged that he doesn’t often speak out on social issues and credited his sister, Caitlyn, for helping him come out of his shell. At one point, Young held up a “Black Lives Matter” sign.

“I’m not used to doing this,” he said. “I’m not very open about what I see or the things that go on in this world very often, but for me, even though I’m just 21 years old, I feel that it was necessary. This is bigger than me, and I feel like this is a big step in the right direction.”

Young’s NBA city of Atlanta has been rocked by protests, fires and looting. He said after he left the stage that he has mixed feelings about those protests.

“I play in Atlanta, a black cultured city where people are looting there and it’s messing up the city,” he said. “So I see both sides. You can protest the right way and peacefully, which I believe it should be, but I also see where it hasn’t worked.”

He believes better days are ahead.

“I feel like justice will be served and changes will be made if we all come together,” he said. “This is us doing it. This is the first step.”

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Short-handed Nets reach deal with veteran guard Jamal Crawford

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When the Brooklyn Nets boarded their plane out of New York on Tuesday, there were only 12 healthy players on board. But reinforcements are coming. Jamal Crawford is signing with the Nets for the remainder of the season, league sources told ESPN.

Crawford, 40, will fill one of the Nets’ three vacant substitute roster spots. Crawford is eligible to be signed after Brooklyn had three players — Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince — test positive for the coronavirus. All three have been ruled out for the season restart in Orlando, Florida. Wilson Chandler, citing familial obligations, also did not make the trip. The team signed forward Justin Anderson in his place.

Now the Nets have two roster spots available to be filled.

According to NBA rules, Crawford could fly or drive to Florida. If he hasn’t been tested regularly since June 23 — when the league started testing players every other day — he will need to quarantine and be tested every day for a week in Orlando before he will be eligible to join his new teammates on the court.

Crawford hasn’t played in the NBA in the 2019-20 season. He most recently played for the Phoenix Suns and scored 51 points in the last game he played in 2019. The 20-year veteran has averaged 14.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over the course of his career.

The deal was first reported by The Athletic.

The Nets arrived in Orlando on Tuesday as one of the 22 NBA teams scheduled to resume games on July 30. They are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Orlando Magic, who currently hold the final playoff spot.

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Stephen Jackson — Comments could have been clearer but had nothing to do with anti-Semitism

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Stephen Jackson apologized Wednesday night for using what he said were the “wrong words” in defending DeSean Jackson, but the former NBA player told CNN that what he said a day earlier should not be misinterpreted as support for anti-Semitism.

“As I first stated when I got on here, I could’ve changed my words,” Jackson told CNN’s Don Lemon. “But there’s nothing that said that I support any of that. There’s nothing that I said that I hate anybody.”

Jackson received criticism throughout Wednesday for saying that DeSean Jackson was “speaking the truth” with his social media posts in recent days that included an anti-Semitic message that he attributed to Adolf Hitler.

Stephen Jackson took to Instagram on Tuesday night to defend the Eagles receiver, saying in part: “You know he don’t hate nobody, but he’s speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others.” In the Instagram video, which was later deleted, Jackson did not mention Hitler or anti-Semitism, but he did speak of social injustice and police brutality and how “none of you NFL owners spoke up on that.” Jackson also spoke about Riley Cooper, the white receiver who shouted a racial slur at a Black security guard at a Kenny Chesney concert in 2013. Cooper was fined by the Eagles and apologized, then was signed to a five-year extension by the team the following year.

The Eagles called DeSean Jackson’s posts “absolutely appalling” on Tuesday. The receiver later apologized multiple times.

“Maybe I could’ve been more clear of what I thought DeSean was correct about, but I didn’t feel the need to go into a conversation that me and him had about how they were treating him and Riley Cooper,” Stephen Jackson told CNN. “I could’ve changed those words, but the people that know me — my Jewish friends that I talked to today — they know that the last thing I was spewing was to defend Hitler or any other post. That’s why I didn’t speak on Hitler or even speak on his post. I spoke on exactly what I agreed with, and they was handling him different than they was handling Cooper. That’s the end of it. They can twist it how they want, but that’s exactly what it is. I don’t hate nobody.”

Jackson, who retired from the NBA in 2014 after playing 14 seasons and winning a championship with San Antonio in 2003, has been a voice for social activism since the death of his friend George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.

“I’ve been out here fighting for justice and equality,” Jackson told CNN. “And I was speaking on equality — why they wasn’t handling Cooper and DeSean Jackson any other way. Like I said, they can twist it how they want to. You didn’t hear a word out of my mouth saying, ‘I hate Jews.’ You didn’t hear a word out of my mouth saying, ‘I’m supporting Hitler.’ They can twist it how they want. I don’t hate nobody. I’ve been standing up for everybody. I’mma continue to. And that’s just the end of it.”

A former NBA analyst for ESPN, Jackson played in the Big3 in 2018 and ’19 (the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic) and now helps host the “All The Smoke” video podcast on Showtime.

Earlier Wednesday, Showtime addressed Stephen Jackson’s initial comments about DeSean Jackson.

“Regardless of his intentions, Stephen’s comments were hurtful and inconsistent with the values espoused by this network,” it said in a statement.

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Short-handed Nets reach deal with veteran guard Jamal Crawford

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When Brooklyn boarded their plane out of New York on Tuesday, there were only 12 healthy players on board. But reinforcements are coming. Jamal Crawford is signing with the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the season, league sources tell ESPN.

Crawford, 40, will fill one of the Nets’ three vacant substitute roster spots. Crawford is eligible to be signed after Brooklyn had three players — Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince — test positive for the coronavirus. All three have been ruled out for the season restart in Orlando. Wilson Chandler, citing familial obligations, also did not make the trip. The team signed forward Justin Anderson in his place.

Now, the Nets have two roster spots that are available to be filled.

According to NBA rules, Crawford could fly or drive to Florida. If Crawford hasn’t been tested regularly since June 23 — when the league started testing players every other day — he would need to quarantine and be tested daily for a week in Orlando before being eligible to join his new teammates on the court.

Crawford hasn’t played in the NBA in the 2020-21 season. He last played for the Phoenix Suns and scored 51 points in the last game he played in 2019. The 20-year veteran has averaged 14.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over the course of his career.

The deal with first reported by the Athletic.

The Nets arrived in Orlando on Tuesday as one of the 22 NBA teams scheduled to resume games on July 30. They are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Orlando Magic, who currently hold the final playoff spot.

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