NBA allows custom jerseys

When the New Orleans Pelicans speak in Orlando, fans will likely see more than their favorite players’ names on the back of the jersey.

Several members of the New Orleans Pelicans have been involved in social justice protests outside of court and will now also be able to speak out while they are on the pitch.

Lonzo ball, Jaxson Hayes and JJ Redick have all spoken openly about the Black Lives Matter movement, whether it’s protesting, posting songs, or discussing podcasts.

Some players, notably Kyrie Irving, were against resuming the season, believing it could distract from what has become one of the most important social movements of our time.

The optics were not good for the NBA, which did not want to be seen as taking advantage of the backs of young African Americans amid protests against police brutality and getting equal treatment under the law.

In an effort to give players a platform, the NBA decided to allow players to customize their jerseys with social justice messages according to Shams Charania:

It can range from Black Lives Matter patches to individualized statements about race and social justice.

Carmelo Anthony walks against police brutality (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

New Orleans Pelicans: NBA players have a platform for social justice

The NBA is no stranger to these kinds of times, as players like LeBron James wore shirts that read “I Can’t Breathe” in response to Eric Garner’s death at the hands of the NYPD.

The NBA has always been one of the more outspoken leagues when it comes to social issues involving race, including when Los Angeles Clippers players protested owner Donald Sterling after the publication of recorded conversations in which he had used vile and racist language.

This decision will certainly anger some, who feel that the sport should be a distraction from divisive social issues and that players should just “shut up and dribble”.

But those days are over and gamers can and should use their platform to express themselves. As humans and Americans, they have the right to talk politics, just like anyone else.

Those who think that not being racist is ‘divisive’ or that gamers shouldn’t have a platform, maybe it’s time to find a new sport to watch or take their own advice and ‘shut up’ .

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Roy C. Plante

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