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People are calling Jimmy Butler a fake tough guy. They’re foolish.

Butler had his back turned when Jokic fouled Morris and didn’t know what happened right away.

Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The hard fouls between Markieff Morris and Nikola Jokic subsumed a bad Miami Heat loss to the Denver Nuggets Monday night.

After Jokic’s foul on Morris, Jimmy Butler yelled across the court to “Bring that [expletive] to the back.” The episode was reminiscent of Butler’s trash talk to T.J. Warren in a January 2020 game after Warren fouled Butler.

And in the discourse since then, some fans have called Butler a “fake tough guy.” The claims couldn’t be further from the truth.

Some pointed out that Butler didn’t yell at Jokic until referees and staff members separated players from both teams. But Butler had his back turned when Jokic fouled Morris and didn’t know what happened right away.

When Butler was 13 years old, his mother told him, “I don’t like the look of you. You gotta go.” He was kicked out of the house, couch-surfed in Tomball, Texas and moved every few weeks. (In a 2017 interview with ESPN, Butler said that he was never truly homeless.) He’s a tough guy because he’s overcome immense obstacles that the people criticizing him have never confronted.

I’d like to see how they’d react if Butler was mad at them in real life.

Ultimately, no one is going to fight when these teams play each other again on Nov. 29. (Well, Udonis Haslem might fight.) Hopefully the fracas amid the ugly loss to the Nuggets — in which Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro all had sub-par games — will light a fire for the Heat to play better on this road trip. But don’t call Butler a fake tough guy. It’s absurd.