NBA plans to paint 'Black Lives Matter' on courts as league gears up to resume 2019-20 season in Orlando
Some WNBA players have reportedly suggested to higher-ups to make warm-up shirts emblazoned with the words "Say Her Name" in a bid to also focus on female victims of police brutality such as Breonna Taylor
NBA insiders have revealed that the league and the National Basketball Players Association are planning to paint "Black Lives Matter" on the court in all three arenas that will be used at the Walt Disney World Resort as the league resumes its 2019-20 season late next month in Orlando, Florida.
League sources told ESPN that the WNBA is also considering painting "Black Lives Matter" on the court when it begins its shortened 2020 season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Some WNBA players have reportedly suggested to their league higher-ups to make warm-up shirts emblazoned with the words "Say Her Name" on them in a bid to also focus on female victims of police brutality such as Breonna Taylor, who lost her life after being shot and killed in a police encounter in her Louisville, Kentucky residence back in March.
As reported by ESPN, players have insisted that the NBA must make the fight for racial equality and social justice the central part of their return to play and to kick off the WNBA's new season. Furthermore, a number of NBA players reportedly considered skipping the league's resumption to focus on social justice issues. Meanwhile, WNBA players Renee Montgomery of the Atlanta Dream and Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics are sitting out of the upcoming season to keep their focus on social justice.
Leaders of both the NBA and the NBPA revealed during a conference call with reporters on Friday that the league and union were discussing how they could use the NBA to call attention to issues of social justice, police brutality, and racial injustice.
Speaking to ESPN over the weekend, Chris Paul, president of the players' union, said that the league and union were working together to allow players to wear uniforms featuring personalized social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys instead of surnames.
The death of George Floyd has set off a string of emotions that has metamorphosized into a massive movement across the United States, as well as other parts of the world. As much as people raised a hue and cry over another senseless killing of an unarmed black man, they were equally outraged by the manner in which he was killed.
In a viral video taken by a passerby on May 25, 46-year-old Floyd was seen lying on streets with handcuffs on during his arrest as a Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck, almost crushing his head on the pavement underneath. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd says repeatedly in the footage. “Please. Please. Please. I can’t breathe. Please, man.” Bystanders also urge the officer to get off Floyd's neck but he refuses to listen. He keeps pressing on the spot for nearly nine minutes till Floyd loses unconsciousness and ultimately dies.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and third-degree manslaughter. Recently, three other officers involved in the arrest — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and JA Kueng — were charged with aiding and abetting murder following nationwide outrage that they should be brought to justice as well. If convicted, all four officers face 40-year terms in prison.