Before moving forward on this piece, I wanted to address something from the comments in the last couple weeks since I have written posts on topics involving the Washington Wizards that intersect with race and politics.
I received complaints last week that some commenters have written or egged on racially-charged or racist comments. These came after a recent post highlighting the reactions the Washington Wizards’ and Mystics’ players had after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
After some comments on that post and others, we had to ban some users. But others who weren’t banned aren’t totally “innocent” either. I don’t like seeing people egg someone in hopes of that person saying something bad.
Since the Wizards and Mystics are the among the most active sports teams on social and political issues, we are going to have posts on them. But for the time being, I’m also closing comments on these kinds of topics. If anyone has questions, please feel free to email me at aleeinthedmv AT gmail DOT com. Thanks.
Recently, the Washington Wizards released their team photos at their practice facility in Congress Heights. Most of the time, they are conventional photos where everyone wears his jersey. Some folks stand. Others sit.
But this year, the Wizards players took their photos with black T-shirts that said “Justice,” “Equality” or “Accountability.” One of their photos was taken with staff who conducted their daily coronavirus testing during this season, including during mid-January when a major outbreak affected the team. You can see the traditional photo with their testing staff above.
In addition, the Wizards also took some other photos of just the players, like this one,
. . .— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) May 4, 2021
Our official 2020-21 team photo. pic.twitter.com/6tvTTw3JF4
The Wizards also released a video on Tuesday regarding why they decided to go in a different direction with their team photo this season.
We ditched the jerseys at this year's team photoshoot and decided to make a statement.— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) May 4, 2021
➡ https://t.co/gG7VT8EzsJ pic.twitter.com/nAPT29wxh7
According to an article by Zach Rosen of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the words behind the players’ shirts had this intent in mind.
Accountability from our nation’s law enforcement, politicians, local leadership, and all citizens. Equality for all, an end to systemic racism and any profiling based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or country of origin. Justice as a foundation for a safe and fair society.
Rosen also had quotes from several players, including Russell Westbrook, who said this type of team photo was the first of its kind he did during his career. It will be interesting to see if other NBA teams do this for their team photos as they head toward the end of their regular seasons.