The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have pre-approved a list of social justice messages that can be worn on the back of uniforms when the league resumes its season later this month in Orlando, according to a report Friday.
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The messages will be displayed in place of their last names during the first four days of the NBA restart, ESPN’s The Undefeated reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Players who decide to participate in the program can submit their top two choices.
Approved phrases include "Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can't Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Si Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor,” according to ESPN.
After the first four days, players can continue to display the messages on their jerseys alongside their last names. The season restart is set to begin on July 30 with a 22-team format.
NBA and union officials have negotiated for weeks on how best to highlight social justice causes amid nationwide protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Several NBA players had expressed concern that the season restart would distract from more important issues. NBA players had until June 24 to “opt out” of the restart plan without risk of fines or other disciplinary action.
The NBA shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Play will resume in a “bubble” environment at Walt Disney World resort in Florida.