Story at a glance
- ESPN reports that NBA and WNBA players are looking to incorporate activism into the upcoming season.
- This follows professional sports leagues facing criticism for its silence surrounding social justice issues.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) are reportedly working to paint “Black Lives Matter” courtside in three arenas the league is set to use at the Walt Disney World Resort for next month’s 2019-2020 season in Orlando, Fla., according to ESPN.
The NBA’s female counterpart, the WNBA, is also reportedly in talks to paint the same mural on the IMG Academy court in Bradenton, Fla., where they are set to start their season.
Sources have reportedly further told ESPN reporters that WNBA players have suggested that they wear warm-up shirts with the “Say Her Name” slogan on them, a call to law enforcement to stay focused on Black female victims of police violence, including Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland.
BREAKING NEWS ABOUT BLACK LIVES MATTER
Civil rights activism has thoroughly intersected with sports over the past seasons. From the 2014 “I Can’t Breathe” warm-up shirts worn by NBA stars including LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose after the death of Eric Garner while in police custody to the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling on the football field in 2016 to continue protesting the systemic inequality against Black and brown Americans, professional sports organizations have been scrutinized for their reactions toward athletes’ peaceful demonstrations.
Now, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and civil rights protests forcing the U.S. to reconcile with its history of institutional racism, professional athletes are taking stands. Over the weekend, two teams from the National Women’s Soccer League knelt on the pitch before the game to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
NBA and WNBA players have reportedly insisted that racial inequality and systemic injustice be central to the forthcoming seasons. ESPN reports that several NBA players are considering skipping the upcoming season to focus on activism. Already, WNBA players like Renee Montgomery of the Atlanta Dream and Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics will sit out the 2019-2020 season to work on social justice issues.
On a conference call with reporters last week, NBA officials reportedly said that they, along with the NBPA, are identifying ways to use the organization’s platform to bring further attention to civil rights issues.
Speaking to ESPN, Chris Paul, the president of the players’ union, said that the league and union were collaborating to let players wear uniforms with personalized messages surrounding civil rights and social justice in place of their last names.
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