The NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) are planning to get 'Black Lives Matter' painted in the arenas at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. As the NBA season is scheduled to resume amid ongoing protests in the USA, the NBA has decided to paint the words on the court inside both the sidelines at all three venues the league will be using at Walt Disney World. Along with the NBA, the WNBA is also discussing painting 'Black Lives Matter' on the court when they resume their season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Say their names on our jerseys pic.twitter.com/AGF1r3Eqp2— Angel McCoughtry (@angel_35) June 25, 2020
As per ESPN, WNBA players suggested the idea of playing in warm-up shirts with 'Say Her Name' written on them. This way, they can remind people to keep their attention on female victims of police brutality like Breonna Taylor, who was shot and murdered by Louisville police in her apartment on March 13. Many players have reportedly insisted that the fight against racial inequality and social injustice will be the focus of the league's return (NBA and WNBA). Several NBA players like LA Lakers' Dwight Howard and Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving have contemplated sitting out the season due to the social issues in the country. WNBA players like Atlanta Dream's Renee Montgomery and Washington Mystics' Natasha Cloud have already announced that they will be sitting out the season to focus on issues surrounding social injustice.
Lakers' Dwight Howard in statement to @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium: "Our main objective is to raise awareness and gain transparency...Many of our fellow players are afraid to voice their concerns and are continuing to follow along with what they believe they have to." pic.twitter.com/dfTlSPBwpV— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 17, 2020
ESPN further reported that on a conference call on Friday, leaders from the NBA and WNBA said that the league and players' union are discussing multiple ways their platform can be used to raise awareness and draw attention towards racial inequality, injustice and police brutality in the country. Players' union president Chris Paul also stated that they are working together with the NBA to allow players to wear jerseys with personalised messages for justice and equality at the back instead of their names.
The protests in the USA began after May 25, when 46-year-old George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. The now-fired Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes, ignoring his cries for help. The entire incident was recorded on camera, and the officer has since been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Floyd's death came a few weeks after Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery's – who was chased and shot by three white men in Georgia. Last week, all three men were indicted on murder. Several NBA and WNBA players have participated in the protests all over the country, constantly speaking up against inequality and police brutality on social media and other platforms. While social causes were also raised as a reason to not resume the season, several health concerns regarding increasing COVID-19 cases have also been raised. As of now, 18 NBA players are reported to have tested positive ahead of the restart in July.