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As an organization, Nets aren’t letting up on social justice issues, says Vaughn

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We don’t know much about what phrases Nets players will be wearing on their jerseys when play resumes on July 31. So far, we only know that Dzanan Musa will wear “Equality and Peace” along with his No. 13.

But based on what Jacque Vaughn said on the Nets Zoom media call Saturday, the team will be using its experience in the Orlando “bubble” to further the goals of social justice, as Kristian Winfield reports.

“That’s the challenge. I was actually part of a small group in our organization, reinforcing our thoughts of continuing to educate our team, whether that is going to be through movies as we are here, through books as we are here,” Vaughn said. “So we were organizing that in a meeting yesterday, because that is really the true challenge.”

So, beyond the normal locker room and dinner conversations, the group chats, the players and staff on hand will have those other opportunities.

“The basketball part will be easy, but to continue to invest in the bigger picture and the broader message to our entire group, and that comes through education. We’ll continue to push that as an organization. It is definitely on the forethought of our coaching staff, our GM, our ownership. It will not be removed because the ball is bouncing again.”

Before the Nets entered the “bubble,” the team participated in some Zoom conference calls with people who might be called thought leaders on the subject of race and American life.

Clara Wu Tsai, Joe’s wife whom he often refers to as his co-owner, helped arrange calls with Van Jones, the CNN commentator, former Obama White House official and CEO of the REFORM Alliance. That’s the criminal justice group which includes Wu Tsai among its partners. (The Liberty, Tsai’s other team, had at least one group session with Jemele Hill, formerly of ESPN and now the The Atlantic.)

Meanwhile, Jordan Rabinowitz, who runs social media for the Nets, put his thoughts about race and Anti-Semitism on LinkedIn. Rabinowitz wrote about his nuanced reaction to the wildly anti-Semitic comments made by DeSean Jackson of the Eagles, which were then echoed and approved by Stephen Jackson, the former NBA star. DeSean Jackson even quoted Adolph Hitler! Both apologized after a fashion when faced with heavy criticism.

And although Rabinowitz doesn’t mention it, Kevin Durant made some waves by “liking” another DeSean Jackson Instagram post complimenting Minister Louis Farrakhan after a July 4 speech where the Nation of Islam leader once again ripped Jews and said blacks shouldn’t take a coronavirus vaccine because Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci are trying to “depopulate the Earth.” KD also “liked” Jackson’s subsequent apology for his Anti-Semitic post, Brian Lewis reports.

For Rabinowitz, one of the worst aspects of the incident is how the two Jacksons’ remarks, particularly Stephen’s, will be used by those forces in American opposed to both blacks and Jews. Stephen Jackson, a childhood friend of George Floyd, spoke, often eloquently, of Floyd following his murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Many have already remarked how deeply upsetting Jackson’s comments were and how critically they undermine the tremendous work he’s done since Floyd’s murder. I’d have nothing to add beyond what Pablo Torre said sharply and succinctly: “Stephen Jackson spreading this insanely bigoted, anti-Semitic conspiracy shit is such a gift to the awful people who despise the legitimate causes he fights for.”

With the NBA, in many respects, leading the way on social justice issues, look for the “bubble” to produce a lot more debate not less as the country moves forward in its discussion of race.

Indeed, in today’s America, the debate gets broader and deeper every day and effects everyone in the organization. On Thursday, Tsai himself blasted a Silicon Valley executive after the executive, Michael Lofthouse, was videoed making grossly anti-Asian comments to a family celebrating a child’s birthday at a Carmel, California restaurant...