PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If and when the NBA restarts its season at the end of July, the league intends to use platforms available to continue the push for social justice.
Pelicans guard and former 76er JJ Redick alluded to the report Monday night on ESPN.
“We’re trying to figure out with the Players Association and the NBA about putting forth real action,” Redick said.
He also referenced the ESPN report from over the weekend about players possibly putting messages on the back of their jerseys, replacing their names.
“We all realize there’s more to it than just kneeling at the anthem or putting up the Black Power sign. We need real change in this country. We need actionable change.”
Sixers forward Tobias Harris said last Friday morning on ESPN, before the report about the jerseys surfaced, “I also have to take the responsibility as a leader of my team and as a player in the NBA to continue to push the message of what we want overall for the African American community, and that’s change. And we have to use our platforms as players when we go to Orlando to continue to push this message.”
This isn’t the first time Redick has witnessed his teammates, fellow players, coaches and their families experience frustration over racial discrimination. He was on the Los Angeles Clippers when former owner Donald Sterling was taped making racist remarks.
“The rage and the anger is real and it’s valid and it’s warranted,” Redick said of reactions to continued racism in America.
While Redick said he doesn’t condone some of the rioting that has occurred, he emphasized, “we’re talking about centuries of abuse, centuries of mistreating Black people in this country. The rage is warranted. The anger is valid.”
Athletes across sports might choose to sit out of their league’s resumptions for a variety of reasons — to promote social justice, family, health, safety or all of the above.
Redick says he doesn’t believe there is a right or wrong answer. He said he applauds anyone who decides to sit out.
“Seriously, the amount of courage it takes to do that is commendable,” Redick said.
That said, he emphasized how getting back to the court can help do a lot of good.
“I believe, for the betterment of our league, we need to play. And we also have an opportunity with the platform that we will have in Orlando to hopefully enact some real policy change.”
According to ESPN, the WNBA is talking about painting “Black Lives Matter” on their courts when they attempt to hold their season in Bradenton, Florida. In addition to that, some players have proposed wearing warm-up shirts with the message “Say Her Name” to bring attention to Breonna Taylor and other female victims of police brutality.