One of the most striking visuals in a landscape still mostly lacking sports came on Saturday at the NWSL Challenge Cup when two players on the Chicago Red Stars, Casey Short and Julie Ertz, kneeled while wearing Black Lives Matter shirts and were overcome with emotions during the national anthem.
Stunning moment of raw emotion. Casey Short and Julie Ertz overwhelmed as they take a knee during the National Anthem. An experience that transcends sports 🇺🇸🙌 @chiredstarsPR @NWSL pic.twitter.com/76XbqFHQfy
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 28, 2020
It was a powerful moment, and one of importance to both the athletes and the social movement the actions represented as sports leagues finally begin to embrace the Black Lives Matter movement. And it seems even the NBA, which has been reticent to allow players to protest during the national anthem in years past, may embrace “social justice slogans” on its player jerseys when the NBA’s bubble league gets up and running.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported late Saturday that the league is working with its players and jersey suppliers to allow slogans on the back of jerseys when league play resumes.
NBPA sent players initial details on the plan tonight, stating it is working with the league and Nike. NBA and the players union have been discussing various ways to allow players to express social justice issues in season restart. https://t.co/vw1RW2Z6Vj
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 28, 2020
The move likely means players can wear the Black Lives Matter slogan on the back of their jerseys, and perhaps like the English Premier League then move the slogan to a patch on the jersey for the rest of the season. The wording of the report, however, isn’t specific and may mean players get to choose the language they put on their jerseys themselves, though Black Lives Matter has been the most poignant and popular phrase of the current movement.
What’s unclear is whether the league will allow players to kneel or do some other form of protest during the national anthem, if it is played before games in the bubble. And nothing is official just yet, but it seems like players will be able to continue bringing awareness to the important issues involving racial inequality even when games get underway in Orlando next month.