NBA players may have the option of replacing the family name on the back of their shirts with social justice statements when the league is restarted in late July, according to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
The NBA and NBPA plan to allow players to replace the last name on their jerseys with a statement on social justice, sources @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
The move is similar to a petition by WNBA players, led by Las Vegas Aces star Angel McCoughtry, to allow players to put the names of victims of police violence on their shirts.
Charania Noted the National Basketball Players Association sent details of the plan on Saturday evening and is currently working with the league and their jersey partner, Nike.
Some players are concerned about the return of the NBA acting as a distraction from national protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
In a call in early June with a number of players, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving discussed withdraw from the league plan to resume the season at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Florida. Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard also advised against resuming play, but clarified the main objective was to “raise awareness and gain transparency”.
NBA said it is taking steps to increase diversity across the league and will establish a foundation to better connect with black communities
Many NBA players have been seen demonstrating with protesters at Black Lives Matter rallies in recent weeks, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, Tobias Harris and Stephen Curry.
In previous discussions with the league, Los Angeles Clippers goalkeeper Lou Williams suggested that players wear “Black Lives Matter” patches on their shirts as a potential option.
It’s far from the first time the NBA has seen players make statements about systemic racism or police brutality. In 2014, after the death of Eric Garner while in police custody in New York, a number of players, including LeBron James, wore shirts with “I Can’t Breathe” written on it – the phrase a was Garner’s last word.
Earlier that year, the Clippers protested racist comments from then owner Donald Sterling by removing and leaving their center court warm-ups.
The NBA has always favored having its players vote for social causes.