Jazz Not Forgetting Social Justice In Orlando

Jul 22, 2020, 7:27 PM

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder talks to guard Donovan Mitchell (45) on the sideline during the ga...

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder talks to guard Donovan Mitchell (45) on the sideline during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Both head coach Quin Snyder and Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell began their media availability Wednesday by taking time to acknowledge the ongoing struggle for social justice in America.

Before taking questions, Snyder read a story from a calendar the NBA has handed out to players and coaches from the Equal Justice Initiative. Snyder told the story of Frank Embree, a Black man who was tortured and lynched in Fayette, Missouri on July 22, 1899.

Mitchell opened his media session by calling for the arrest of the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor.

“We need justice for Breonna Taylor,” Mitchell said. “She was killed in her own home. If there’s a point where we can’t feel safe in our home, that’s not right. And I feel like Daniel Cameron needs to do his job and arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor.”

Cameron is the attorney general in the state of Kentucky where Taylor was killed on March 13.

“We want to win a championship and play games,” Mitchell said of the Jazz time in Orlando. “But the ultimate goal is to continue to spread the message. We can’t be the on the frontlines. We can’t be there because we’re here right now. So we’ve got to continue to find ways as a league to go out there and continue to spread the message.”

NBA scrimmages began Wednesday with a notable presence from league to keep the conversation focused around social injustice. The NBA floor is emboldened with a large Black Lives Matter sign painted across halfcourt.

Once regular-season games begin, players can choose one of several statements to have placed on the back of their jerseys during gameplay to show their support for racial progress.

Jazz Players Jersey Messaging

Jazz center Rudy Gobert will wear the word Equality on the back of his jersey the NBA resumes in Orlando. Equality was one of 28 sayings players can wear on their jerseys drug the remainder of the season at The Walt Disney World Resorts. The NBA is allowing players to display the messaging on their jerseys in place of their name to continue the conversation surrounding social injustice.

Gobert’s announcement was made on NBA on TNT during the league’s hiatus. Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes reported the information he had received from sources.

Haynes reported that the NBA originally planned to allow players to wear the messages over the first four nights of the league’s return. However, the players union pushed to extend the alteration throughout the rest of the NBA season.

Guard Mike Conley will wear the phrase “I Am A Man” on the back of his jersey when the season resumes.

Conley consulted with his family on which phrase he should choose. In 1968, Memphis sanitation workers went on strike after two workers were killed on duty. During the protest, workers carried signs with the phrase “I Am A Man” displayed on the front.

The list of the approved suggested social messages reportedly include the following words and phrases: 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.

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Jazz Not Forgetting Social Justice In Orlando