Will Barton Claims ‘We’re Fooling Ourselves’ For Thinking Messages On Jerseys Will Make A Difference

One of the main concerns going into the NBA restart was whether it would distract from the nationwide protests for social justice. After George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, citizens across the country took to the streets to demand justice and an end to police brutality. Many NBA stars have taken front and center in the fight for police reform over the past two months, and a vocal contingent even expressed their apprehensions about whether it was right to participate in the Orlando bubble amid the turmoil that was happening in American cities.

The vast majority of players eventually decided to join the restart, partially as a way of using that platform to promote the cause for social reform. The league itself is on board with bringing that message to fans, although they issued the final decision on what types of phrases could be worn on the backs of players’ jerseys when the games begin later this month.

Not everyone is impressed with that plan. Nuggets guard Will Barton, for instance, said Friday that messages on jerseys won’t go nearly far enough to contribute to the ongoing fight for social justice.

And Barton isn’t the only one who’s underwhelmed by the idea of messages on jerseys. Normal Powell, for instance, didn’t like the fact that the league had final say over what types of messages players could ware and criticized the “cookie-cutter” nature of the approved phrases.

LeBron James himself has decided to forego any of those phrases and just stick with his last name, hinting that, while he had considered wearing certain phrases on his uniform, he wasn’t part of the decision-making process of what would be approved. Still, many players will indeed wear messages on their jerseys when the games kick off in Orlando, and we can certainly expect the movement to extend well beyond that as the national television platform will offer numerous opportunities to make their voices heard.