Not everyone in the league was thrilled when the NBA limited what social justice messages could be added to the back of jerseys during play at Walt Disney World.
So, the players association has apparently found a workaround.
The NBPA is partnering with Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook’s clothing company to design social justice shirts for players to wear during the season restart near Orlando, Florida, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
There will be several messaging options available on the “lifestyle shirts,” including:
I Can’t Breathe
No Justice No Peace
Break the Cycle
By Any Means
Power to the People
Am I Next?
On Monday, Westbrook released a few pictures of the shirts on his Twitter account.
Honor the Gift is extremely proud to collaborate with the NBPA to create a collection of shirts that allow us players to shed light on social injustice, and honor the victims and families of those who continue to inspire us. pic.twitter.com/drf2f7NocD— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) July 20, 2020
It’s not clear how the shirts will be utilized during the rest of the season or who will wear them. Players have worn similar warm-up shirts in the past, though it’s not clear if the league will allow players to wear these shirts for that purpose in Florida.
The NBA’s move to allow players to put a pre-approved message on their jerseys is one of several it’s doing to help players speak out about social and racial justice in Florida. As of last week, 285 of the 350 players participating in the restart had already informed the league of their messaging choice — which included “Equality,” “Vote,” “Freedom,” “How many more?” “Black Lives Matter” and more.
Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler wants the back of his jersey to be blank instead — something more than 30 other players are trying to do, too. That request, according to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, is still under review.
Though it’s unknown how the shirts will be used — or even what they’ll look like — they are even more proof that players are committed to speaking out about issues other than sports during the rest of the season.
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