Social justice messages may soon be read on NBA jerseys in the upcoming season return of the league according to National Basketball Players Association president and Oklahoma City Thunder guard, Chris Paul.
Paul also stated that the NBA and the player's union are currently discussing a possible collaboration which may allow players to bring their protests inside the hardcourt by replacing their last names on their jerseys with social justice, social cause, or charity messages.
According to ESPN, the personalized statements on the jerseys is only one of the things in the long list of social justice statements that the players are planning to make as the season is set to restart in Orlando on July 30.
The NBPA and NBA have also previously announced that they are still discussing making the fight against systemic racism one of the main focuses of the season resumption.
It was also stated that the personalized jerseys could contain messages such as "I Can't Breathe" or "Black Lives Matter" in order to highlight a social cause. Aside from statements, it was also noted that the jerseys can also display the names of Breonna Taylor or George Floyd, both are black victims who were killed by the police in the past few months.
Moreover, CBS Sports reported that Paul stated that the NBPA aims to continue shedding light on different issues in the society. They also want to use the jerseys so that the basketball season resumption will not overshadow social justice issues which are very important to the society nowadays.
It can be noted that many NBA players took part in the nationwide protests that erupted in the aftermath of Floyd's death on May 25. Some players have also been very vocal on social media of their views about the injustice that led to the death of both Taylor and Floyd.
Meanwhile, in a report by New York Post, it was stated that players who want to raise awareness on other causes and charities aside from racial issues, police brutality and social injustice will also be allowed. Paul also stated that he has not yet decided on what he wants to put on his jersey.
On top of this, Paul stated that he has already discussed the matter with other players, including those who are not black and noted that most if not all of them supported the idea. He also emphasized that players will not be pressured into wearing social justice jerseys if they do not want to.
It can be noted that during the 2018-2019 season of the NBA almost three-quarters (74.9%) of the players were black based on the recently released 2019 NBA Complete Racial and Gender Report Card.
Moreover, the OKC guard said that they are hoping that the jerseys will spark talks of the social issues so that it does not die down soon. He also noted that they are trying to reach out to the families of those people whose deaths sparked the protests and outrage across the US including, Taylor, Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery to ask for their blessing and permission in using the names on the back of their NBA jerseys.