NBA could allow players to wear social justice messages on jerseys

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Oklahoma City Thunder goalkeeper Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association, told ESPN The Undefeated on Saturday that the players’ union and the league are working together to allow players to wear jerseys with personalized messages of justice social, social cause or charity on the back. instead of their last names on the next reboot of the NBA season.The personalized statements on the jerseys are part of a long list of social justice messages that players plan to do for the rest of the season, which will resume on July 30 in Orlando, Florida. The NBA and NBPA announced on Wednesday an agreement to continue to discuss the fight against systemic racism and make it one of the main axes of the restart. Personalized jerseys could say things like “Black Lives Matter” or “I Can’t Breathe”, light up a social or charitable cause or even display the names of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, who have been killed by police in recent months .

“We are just trying to continue to shed light on the various social justice issues that the guys in our league continue to talk about day after day,” Paul told The Undefeated. “People say that social justice will not be on everyone’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it will not go away. “

NBA players participated in nationwide protests, spoke on social media and were active in the aftermath of Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis and Taylor’s death on March 13 in Louisville , Kentucky, at the hands of the police. For players who prefer to educate their jerseys on causes or charities unrelated to social injustice, police brutality or other racial issues, Paul said it would also be accepted. Paul, whom Thunder will play in the NBA restart, said he hadn’t decided what he wanted on the back of his jersey.

Paul said he has spoken to many players, including some who are not black, who support the idea of ​​the jersey. He said players will not be forced and forced to wear jerseys with social justice messages. Suggestions will also be made to players looking for a cause to support. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at a press conference on Friday that the league “has work to do” to progress in hiring African Americans in notable roles, and the need for diversity has was discussed at a recent meeting of the board of governors. The NBA was made up of 74.9% black players during the 2018-2019 season, according to the 2019 full NBA race and gender report released last week by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) from the University of Central Florida.

“The guys I spoke to were really excited,” said Paul. “The reason I am passionate and excited is that it gives voice to the voiceless. It also gives guys a chance to spot something they are passionate about. Otherwise, they may not have been able to express themselves. ”

Paul demonstrated peacefully at a Black Lives Matter event in Los Angeles and spoke on social media about racial injustice and police brutality. The 15-year-old NBA veteran said he hoped the jerseys would spark more conversations about each player’s social message or cause. Paul also said the NBPA plans to reach out to the families of Floyd, Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin and others whose deaths have sparked outrage across the country to seek their permission and blessings. use names on the back of NBA shirts.

“I thought about how avant-garde our league is and how passionate our players are about different issues,” said Paul. “Our guys walk on the front lines and use their platforms. If the guys choose to go down to Orlando to make sacrifices and play this game, why not be able to play and still say your name at the same time? ”

“During the marches, they say:” Say his name … George Floyd. Say her name… Breonna Taylor “. Obviously, we need to reach out to families to see if things are going well. “

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