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NBA players in talks to put social messages on jerseys

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Chris Paul (right) has been a vocal leader for NBA players as they seek to use their stage to support social justice. AFP

NBA players in talks to put social messages on jerseys

NBA players could be allowed to wear jerseys bearing slogans supporting social justice causes or charities instead of their names when the league resumes next month, ESPN reported on Sunday.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association, told ESPN’s The Undefeated website that players were in talks with the league about the initiative.

The report said jerseys could carry messages such as “Black Lives Matter” or “I Can’t Breathe” – two popular rallying cries of the protest movement which erupted after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

“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 told The Undefeated.

“People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn’t go away.”

NBA players have been prominent supporters of the protests which swept across all 50 states following Floyd’s death during his arrest by police on May 25.

Players would also have the opportunity to use the initiative to show support for causes not related to racial injustice and police brutality, Paul said, adding that no player would be forced to display a message.

Paul meanwhile said the idea had received positive feedback from players he had discussed it with.

“The guys I talked to were definitely excited,” Paul said.

“The reason I’m passionate and excited about it is that it gives a voice to the voiceless.

“It also gives guys a chance to shine a light on something they are passionate about,” added Paul, who earlier this month joined protesters at a Black Lives Matter event in Los Angeles.

The NBA is due to resume its coronavirus-disrupted 2019-2020 season in Orlando, Florida on July 30.

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