U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wants the NBA to expand the approved messages players can choose to wear on the backs of their jerseys when the season restarts on July 30 near Orlando.
Last week, the NBA and the players union agreed on 29 messages the players may wear, all geared toward social justice. They include Black Lives Matter — which will be painted on all courts — Say Their Names, I Can’t Breathe, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now and How Many More.
But in a letter to commissioner Adam Silver dated Friday, Hawley asked the league to include statements in support of police and the military, as well as residents of Hong Kong who want to be free from China’s rule.
“You have crossed the line of sanctioning specific political messages,” Hawley told Silver. “There is no avoiding the work of clarifying the association’s values now. This is a time for you to make clear what your league believes about human rights and the nation that is your home. Your silence on these questions speaks volumes.”
Hawley added: “Let your players stand up for the people of Hong Kong. Let them stand up for American law enforcement if they choose. Give them the choice to write ‘Back the Blue’ on their jerseys. Or ‘Support our Troops.’ Maybe ‘God Bless America.’ What could be more American than that?”