Reports came out this weekend that the NBA may consider allowing messages on the back of player jerseys which was immediately met with backlash. If there is anything we’ve learned from the NFL the last 4 years is that there is a segment of the population that doesn’t want athletes or entertainers speaking but that’s another story.
What Memphis Grizzlies player Ja Morant did was share a post someone sent him of his jersey being photoshopped to say “F*ck 12” on the back, standing for “F the police.” He shared it with the added caption “nah fr tho.” He also tweeted it saying, “want dat on my jersey fr.”
Being that Morant’s 20 years old, he probably didn’t think of what type of backlash that would cause. Seriously, there are people who sit and look for reasons to attack these athletes over racial and social justice statements to prove a point.
The tweet of the jersey posted as a joke was removed hours later but not without an apology saying, “I want to first apologize for reposting something that didn’t clearly and accurately convey what I wanted to share,” Morant said.
“My post was intended to focus on the bad cops who get away with the murder of unarmed Black men and women, and those who continue to harass peaceful BLACK LIVES MATTER protestors.”
Ja continued, “I know there are good cops ’12’ out there. I know some, and a few are family. I am thankful to the cops at Murray State who took care of me, and the cops who continue to watch over me with the Grizzlies.”
“We NEED good cops to step up and make sure others cops are not abusing their power.”
In the apology, Morant went on to call for justice for Breonna Taylor, and added, “There have been too many Black lives taken by police that could have been prevented.”
“You may see me as just a basketball player and I may lose fans for taking a stand, but I won’t stay silent.”
It was such a big deal that his team shared his apology to make sure it was seen. What came out of this is a 20 year old who had an early life lesson on what happens when you speak about serious issues. Whether what he said was appropriate or not, one thing that we have to remember is that you can’t have the expectation for people to speak favorably about an entity that they’ve had negative experiences with. That means they would be lying. It’s like forced patriotism.
There are people who sit out the national anthem because of personal views. Disrespectful or not, that’s a personal choice. One thing I can guarantee out of this is that this tweet is going to be an example of why whatever message is placed on player jerseys, if it happens at all will be highly regulated as the public is going to be absolutely paranoid about what their jerseys will say. Personally, I hope the league goes with it. I’m all for more speech.