NBA May Allow Social-Media Statements In Place Of Names On Jerseys
DALLAS - Many in the NBA have pitched the idea that rather than the resumption of the regular season serving as a force that would dilute the civil rights movement, the raised profile of real athletes in real games would increase the opportunity for positive messaging.
And it seems the NBA is willing to its name on that - by allowing players to replace the names on their jerseys.
When the NBA returns to play in Orlando on July 30, the league will allow players to replace their last names on the backs of their jerseys with a statement on social justice, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
In a June players-only conference call led by Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, over 80 players discussed concerns about resuming play following the COVID-19-driven hiatus as a move that might take away from the issues of the day.
Commissioner Adam Silver eventually countered convincingly by saying, "In terms of social justice issues, it’ll be an opportunity for NBA players in the greater community to draw attention to the issues because the world’s attention will be on the NBA in Orlando if we’re able to pull this off. What should this league, that may have a unique opportunity as compared to almost any other organization in the world, be doing in response to George Floyd’s death, to endemic racial issues in society?”
So the games will go on, the NBA having released its schedule for the season restart on Friday, which opens with the first game featuring the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz on July 30 and includes the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Houston Rockets on the following day. ... and maybe social statements to go with the numbers on the jerseys.
Meanwhile, the league continues to work to assure health and safety for the 22 teams that will live in the bubble.
"The level of concern has increased, not just because of the increased levels in Florida, but throughout the country," Silver said, later adding that the league still feels "very comfortable right now with where we are."