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Wizards help fight against 'the R-word'

Friday - 3/7/2014, 1:44pm  ET

JOHN_WALL.JPG
Wizards star John Wall served as referee for the night. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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WASHINGTON -- Debate continues over whether Washington's football team should drop the name "Redskins," but it's another "R" word that some local professional athletes want everyone to quit using.

"The use of the 'R word,' which is 'retarded,' is a derogatory word, a dehumanizing word," says Steve Hocker, president of Special Olympics District of Columbia.

His group is involved in a continuing campaign with the Washington Wizards called "Spread the Word to End the Word" when referring to people with intellectual disabilities.

To help push that message, several Wizards players served as coaches and referees at a Special Olympics District of Columbia Unified League game at the St. Coletta of Greater Washington Gymnasium in Southeast on Thursday.

In June, members of this local Special Olympics program will take part in the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.

The Wizards' Trevor Booker says people who have disabilities should not be treated differently.

"They're people just like us, so just be yourself, you know, interact with them and have a good time," Booker says.

The Wizards' Garrett Temple says people who have disabilities are just like everyone else.

"They can compete; they can play basketball; they can live their lives, have great lives just like we can," Temple says.

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