National Basketball Association to allow players to put social justice statements on jerseys

Getty Images_Michael A. McCoy

Several players, led most notably by Kyrie Irving, even advocated that they not play in Florida due to the Black Lives Matter movement - as doing so could distract from the progress that has been made.

Players, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, will be able to replace the last name on their jerseys with a statement on social justice. "NBA and the players union have been discussing various ways to allow players to express social justice issues in season restart".

Oklahoma City guard Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association, said the union and the league are now collaborating on the initiative. "People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody's mind in Orlando".

Paul said that he has talked to numerous players, including those who are non-Black, who support the jersey idea. "With these jerseys, it doesn't go away".

"The guys I talked to were definitely excited", Paul, 35, said.

Paul told The Undefeated that players would not be forced or pressured to post social justice messages. "The reason I'm passionate and excited about it is that it gives a voice to the voiceless".

Earlier this week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league wanted to use its return as a way to increase awareness and to implement change in society.

The jersey design change is just one idea from a long list of different plans for National Basketball Association players to use their platform as a mouthpiece for social reform. "This includes strategies to increase Black representation in all positions across the NBA and its teams, ensure greater inclusion of Black-operated businesses across NBA business activities, and the formation of an NBA foundation to expand educational and economic development opportunities across the Black community".



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