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Clippings: NBA misses the mark on jersey messaging

Players are disappointed with the league-approved list.

Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

As part of the league’s effort to continue fighting for racial justice and against police brutality during the NBA restart, the league and the NBPA agreed to feature personalized social justice messages on jerseys.

It turns out that the players don’t have full autonomy on the personalization of those jerseys. Instead, Marc Spears of The Undefeated reported last week that players were given a list of approved messages to choose from:

The list of the suggested social messages that were agreed upon by the NBPA and the NBA and then made available to players via email, per the source, are: 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.

Former Clipper Mike Scott told reporters Monday that players weren’t given a choice in the matter, calling the idea a “bad miss.” His teammate Josh Richardson said he felt limited by the options provided, which defeats the point of allowing the players to express themselves. Pacers forward TJ Warren noted that “Black Humanity” wasn’t approved.

Austin Rivers wanted to honor Trayvon Martin on his jersey, but the NBA decided not to include the names of individuals murdered due to police brutality out of sensitivity for the families of those whose names were not used.

Jaylen Brown of the Celtics — who is a Vice President on the NBPA Executive Committee and theoretically should have been involved in this process — offered some ideas of messages that he would have preferred.

The NBA will still paint Black Lives Matter on their game courts, but the jersey plan (players’ selections were reportedly due Monday) now feels like a wasted opportunity.

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