Mike Scott called it a bad list.
The 76ers reserve forward was referring to the choices NBA players were given to display on the back of their jerseys to bring awareness to social issues during the league’s restart in Orlando, Fla.
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“They gave us some ... phrases to put on the back of our jerseys. That was terrible,” Scott said Monday in a Zoom call with reporters. “It was just a bad list, a bad choice. They didn’t give players a chance to voice their opinion on them. They just gave us a list to pick from.
“So that was bad. That was terrible.”
Scott said voicing your opinion on how you feel is a way to use your platform. He added that voting and getting laws changed are other ways.
“But I’m all about doing instead of just saying, or posting, or putting [something] on the back of your jersey,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to stop anything.”
On Friday, The Undefeated reported that the NBA and National Basketball Players Association agreed to a list of social-justice messages players can wear on their back of their jerseys during the 22-team NBA restart at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Disney World. The list includes: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Si Se Puede (Yes We Can); See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Liberation; Listen; Listen To Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economic; Education Reform; and Mentor.
Sixers teammate Josh Richardson thinks the list 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,” he said. “There’s a lot of different things that are being thought, a lot of different things that are wanting to be portrayed.
“If it’s not in that list of words that they gave us, it’s like it doesn’t count as much. So I can see where [Scott] comes from with that.”
George Floyd’s death and overall racial inequities and social injustices that have been highlighted in recent weeks have brought out some emotions in Scott.
“ A lot of anger, disappointment, just questioning a lot of stuff like what’s going on in this world and how can people be so evil,” he said. “You know, there’s just a lot of anger. It’s mostly just anger.”
Scott still is angry and admits that it’s not easy to change his focus from the coronavirus pandemic and social injustice to playing basketball.
“Most people would probably be like, ‘This [stuff] 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 of months.”
He’s been dealing with that while trying to work out every day and get mentally ready for Orlando.
“But at the same time, how can you not focus on everything else going on?” he said.
Scott, as a native of Chesapeake, Va., and a fan of Washington’s NFL team, also spoke about the movement to change that team’s nickname, which is offensive to Native Americans.
The team announced Friday it will “undergo a thorough review” of the nickname while dealing with renewed pressure to change it.
Scott would like the team to change the name to Red Tails, he said. “I saw something like that.”
The Red Tails are a popular choice for a couple of reasons.
The Tuskegee Airmen, African-American pilots who fought in World War II, were known as the Red Tails. The NFL team has indicated it would like to honor the armed forces with its next nickname. Meanwhile, the red-tailed hawk could serve as Washington’s mascot. The bird is sometimes seen in the city.
“They’ve been trying to change the name,” Scott said. “So I’m all for that, change it. ...
But if they want to change it and represent something else, that’s cool. Like I said, I’m all about doing it.”
Scott doubled down on his desire to see majority owner Daniel Snyder leave the organization.
“If they want to change the name, I’m with that,” he said. “Change the owner, too.”
The Washington Post reported that the team’s three minority owners -- Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Frederick Smith -- are attempting to sell their stake in the franchise because they’re “not happy being a partner” of Snyder. Smith is the CEO, president, and chairman of FedEx. In 1999, the corporation signed a 27-year, $205 million naming-rights deal for what is now called FedEx Field.
On Thursday, FedEx became the first major sponsor to call on the team to change its name. Shortly afterward, sponsors Nike, PepsiCo, and Bank of America acknowledged that they also felt the name should be changed.
Synder bought the Redskins in May 1999. The three minority partners bought their shares in 2003. They own roughly 40% of the team.