Many things have happened since the NBA postponed its season. The world is not only suffering a global pandemic, but Americans have also been rallying for justice after murders of citizens at the hands of the police. These matters have created tensions making some fans and players believe that there is more to be done rather than playing basketball. To show its commitment to the cause and understanding of its platform, NBA is reportedly in talks to allow players to replace their last names in exchange for social messages that are stitched to the back of their jerseys.
The news comes after some players were torn about resuming the season due to the current situation of the country. Since the league solidified the bubble in Orlando, a group of players led by Kyrie Irving has been pushing for athletes to boycott the resuming in hopes to prove to American people that they are serious about societal change. Along with the current players who support the initiative, Stephen Jackson, close friends with George Floyd, thinks that NBA stars should sit out in protest.
The pushback comes from players who believe that the NBA provides them a stage in order to speak their opinions and truths. Some players believe that sitting out will only silence their voices as they are fighting to have these stories heard. In addition, Austin Rivers noted that the revenue these games generate could go toward assisting the Black Lives Matter movement and that every player isn’t on a $141 million contract like Irving and they can’t afford to take a year off.
Combining the desire to play with the need to touch on these social issues has seemingly led to discussions as well as the idea of putting messages on the back of their jerseys. Players have worn “I Can’t Breathe” shirts or some other forms of protest in the past. Therefore, there will likely be a push for more tangible actions on behalf of the league by the Players Association.