Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott said players being given a list of phrases they may put on the backs of their jerseys when the NBA season restarts in Orlando, Florida, later this month, rather than choosing what they want to say themselves, was a “bad miss.”
“They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys. That was terrible. It was just a bad miss, a bad choice,” Scott said Monday during a conference call with reporters. “They didn’t give players a chance to voice our opinions on it; they just gave us a list to pick from. So that was bad, that was terrible.
“I’m all about just doing, instead of saying and posting, or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything, you know?”
The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears reported Friday that the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association had agreed to the following list of suggested messages: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.
“There’s a lot of stuff. I know everybody has different reasons they’re playing for. … Four hundred and fifty guys, or however many will be there, are sending in whatever they feel like would add to that list and encompass the group that’s going down there,” Brown said.
“What I’d like to personally see on there? Maybe ‘Break the Cycle,’ putting that on the back of your jersey. ‘Results,’ that’s what everybody is really playing for. ‘Inequality by Design,’ maybe. Things like that might have a deeper impact than some of the things that were given to us. I think it was a little bit limiting.”
Scott’s teammate, Josh Richardson, said that while he thought the NBA and NBPA were trying to do the right thing with the list of phrases players could use, that only having a handful of them — and potentially leaving out causes players believe in — felt limiting.
“I mean, I think it came from a place of good intention. But I think it’s tough to try to limit what people are feeling, and how people can speak out, to just a list of 15 to 20 sayings, you know? There’s a lot of different things that are being thought, a lot of different things that are being wanted to be portrayed, and if it’s not in that list of words that they gave us it’s almost like it doesn’t count as much. So I can see where he comes from with that,” he said.
NBA players are scheduled to begin arriving at Walt Disney World Resort on Tuesday, and teams will continue arriving through Thursday. Teams will have about three weeks to ramp up, and play three scrimmages, before games begin on July 30.
Scott said it won’t be easy to get back into the mindset of focusing on basketball again after everything that has happened in the world over the past few months — from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that shut down the league on March 11 to the protests for social justice and against racial inequality and police brutality over the past six weeks.
“You’re trying to change your mentality from what’s going on and being with your family and making sure you’re safe — racism, [coronavirus] — and then turning and switching on to go to Orlando and play basketball. Easier said than done,” Scott said. “Most people would probably be like, ‘This s— should be easy. Just think about basketball.’
“But I don’t know, man, it’s tough thinking about that after what’s gone on these past couple months. I’ve been dealing with that and just trying to work out every day and get my mind ready for Orlando, but at the same time, how can you not focus on everything else going on?
“We’re just going off of, ‘We’ll see.’ Can only go off of what people are saying, explaining what it’s going to be like down there, and giving us ideas of what’s to come. I don’t know anything until I get down there and see.”