Source: NBA, union agree to jersey messages

The National Basketball Players Association and the NBA reached an agreement Friday on social justice messages that can be displayed above the number on the back of jerseys when the league resumes play July 30, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.

Via e-mail, players were made aware of a list of social messages — agreed upon by both the NBPA and the NBA — that can be displayed in that space on the jersey during the first four days of the restart that does not include their last name, source told The Undefeated.

Players can have a first and second choice, but they do not have to use the space for a social message if they do not want to, the source said. After the first four nights, a player can still opt to have the message in that space but their last name will be beneath.

The list of the approved suggested social messages, per the source, for the back of the NBA jerseys: 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.

The personalized statements are part of a long list of social justice messages the players plan to deliver over the rest of the season, which restarts July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

The NBA and NBPA announced an agreement on June 24 to continue to discuss fighting systemic racism and to make it one of the main focuses of the restart.

Earlier this week, a source told The Undefeated that players decided not to use the names of those who have died in police custody or in racially motivated incidents on the backs of their jerseys due to concerns about offending those close to someone whose name might not be used and over difficulties gaining permission from surviving family members.

NBA players were involved in nationwide protests, vocal on social media and active in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor’s death on March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky, at the hands of police.

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