BOSTON (CBS) — Players around the NBA are sporting social messages on the back of their jerseys, in hopes of raising awareness of various different causes. Most of those messages center on the need for racial equality and social reform, but others are somewhat ambiguous, including the one Celtics forward Gordon Hayward recently received some heat for putting on the back of his jersey.
With his teammates displaying messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “Freedom,” and “Equality” in place of their last names, Hayward was hit with some criticism for going with “Education Reform.” A small faction of Twitter critics attacked Hawyard and accused the C’s forward for sidestepping the racial issues at hand, with some coming out and calling him a racist.
Hayward explained his decision on Tuesday, saying that education is a topic he is very passionate about. Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to receive a good education, which is the message Hayward hopes to convey with the message on the back of his jersey.
Not everyone receives that equal opportunity though, and Hayward wants to bring awareness to the topic. Hayward said that education is a good starting point for fixing a lot of what needs to change in the country.
“There are a lot of issues that are going on right now that need to be fixed and change. One thing that I’m passionate about is education. I think education is the key,” Hayward told reporters on Tuesday. “Especially having little kids of my own, giving little kids the opportunity, it hits home.
“Everybody should have an equal opportunity, and certainly, there’s a lot of places that don’t. It’s those places that really need our support,” Hayward continued. “There’s a lot to be done in that area. My wife and I have been in the education sector in Boston since we’ve gotten here, and it’s something that we’ll continue to do.”
Hayward is one of 11 players to have “Education Reform” on the back of his jersey during the first games of the NBA’s bubble season in Orlando, a group that also includes Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Portland’s C.J. McCollum, Marcus and Markieff Morris and San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan.