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NBA approves list of social justice statements for player jerseys

Players will be allowed to replace their last name with statements such as “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe.”

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

On Friday (July 3), the NBA shared an approved list of 29 statements that players can use on the back of their jersey as the organization plans to restart the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30.

The list was authorized by the National Basketball Players Association and NBA as a collaboration with Nike.

Per ESPN, the following statements are approved: 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; Sí 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.

Players will not be able to use the names of those who died in police custody due to concerns of offending those close to the deceased coupled with the difficulty of getting permission from their families.

The basketball pros will have an option of choosing one or two statements but are not required to. The social messages will sit above their jersey numbers for the first four days of the season restart. After the fourth day, they can revert to their last name or keep the message. If they keep the message, their last name will be displayed below the number.

The NBA and NBPA came to an agreement on June 27 after players’ voiced their concerns about resuming the 2019-2020 season, including Oklahoma Thunder guard and NBPA president Chris Paul.

“We’re just trying to continue to shed light on the different social justice issues that guys around our league continue to talk about day in and day out,” Paul said in a statement. “People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn’t go away.”

The basketball organization also recently announced plans to paint Black Lives Matter on the court sidelines.

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