Jimmy Butler wanted to wear a nameless jersey to send a message.
With the NBA restart going on in Orlando, Florida, many players throughout the league are wearing social justice messages on their jerseys. These messages come in light of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who were unjustly killed by the police. The caveat to these messages is that they have been hand-picked by the league as players cannot have their own custom message.
Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat learned that the hard way recently as he sported a nameless Heat jersey during the team’s warm-up today. Eventually, the NBA told him that he was not allowed to wear the uniform and that he had to change. Prior to the game, Butler explained the message he was trying to send.
“I love and respect all of the messages the league did choose, but for me, I felt like with no message, with no name, it’s going back to who I was,” Butler said. “And if I wasn’t who I was today, I’m no different than anybody else of color. And I want that to be by message…everybody has the same rights no matter what.”
The league’s decision was unfortunate as Butler’s message was one that deserves to be heard. For now, it seems like the NBA still wants to have some control over the messages being conveyed.