The melding of sports and politics feels inevitable at this point, thanks to athletes having now found themselves indoctrinated into the cult of celebrity.
Our professional athletes are not just players anymore; they are icons. They are role models, whether they choose to be or not, and we revere them as more than mortal in many cases. These are human beings who’ve very nearly perfected something about themselves, and we often find ourselves admiring their dedication and talent as if we were watching some other species of animal performing its unique ritual or task.
But where fame goes, ego often follows, and the nation’s athletes are exerting their opinions on just about any subject that you can imagine these days.
In the NBA, they might even be wearing them.
The National Basketball Players Association and the NBA reached an agreement Friday on social justice messages that can be displayed above the numbers on the backs of jerseys when the league resumes play July 30, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.
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.
The messages will be displayed above the number during the first four days of the season restart, a 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, the source said. If they do not, the player’s last name would appear in that space.
After those first four nights, any players who choose to continue displaying such a message would see that message moved to the space below their name on the jersey.
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