In his 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz, John Stockton built a Hall of Fame career assisting teammate Karl Malone to deliver the mail. Two decades later, Stockton delivered a letter in support of a friend charged in connection with the breach at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“I simply wrote what I think is a pretty nice character reference for someone I know,” Stockton told "Fearless with Jason Whitlock" on Tuesday. “I expected that to be private. … I'm not embarrassed by it. I stand by the letter and certainly everything I said in it, but I was surprised it became public. I didn’t know it worked that way.”
Stockton wrote the letter on behalf of Janet Buhler, the wife of former Utah Jazz chiropractor Dr. Craig Buhler. Janet Buhler was one of more than 800 people charged in connection with the infamous Capitol riot.
Originally she was charged with five criminal counts, before agreeing to a plea deal in January 2022. She entered a guilty plea to one charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Stockton and 25 others have written letters on Buhler’s behalf prior to her June 1 sentencing on the misdemeanor conviction, which carries a potential six-month sentence. His letter gained the attention of pundits in both the political and sports worlds.
The controversy over the events of Jan. 6 continues, galvanizing those on both sides of the political aisle. Stockton surmised that Buhler is a supporter of former President Donald Trump, although he said he did not know for sure. He believes her motivation that day was more grounded in the foundational principles of the United States.
“I think she was there to support honest elections,” he told Whitlock. “This is supposed to be a free country. You can say what you want. You can peacefully protest. You have the right to your opinion, even if it’s one I don’t agree with. And, again, we are in real jeopardy of losing all those things, and it’s a little bit scary.
“You think of George Washington; they’ll probably drag him down through the mud at some point in time too. But that guy could have been king of America, turned it down because he believed that the process is supposed to be for the people, by the people, and not about a king. I think that type of leadership is the leadership we could use now.”