Bullock, whose transgender sister was stabbed to death in 2014, has previously advocated for improving rights for LGBTQ individuals. In a 2016 interview, he said “I support them and feel like no hatred should be done against anyone in the LGBT community. And [it’s] just my right for me to stand up for my sister and the life that she chose to live. And I just stand up for her.”
The NBA player has previously hosted an LGBTQ Pride Night and has a tattoo in support of LGBTQ rights.
The league already has a partnership with Fanatics, which sells NBA shirts featuring rainbow logos, and anti-LGBTQ bullying organization GLSEN.
I'm not a graphic designer but I figured a palette swap might be nice. This color scheme matches up with the Transgender Flag in honor of your sister. I would love to see some type of tribute jersey by the NBA. ????????? pic.twitter.com/c9pJLbM1LH— Hartford Sadboy (@varandela20) April 22, 2018
Some Twitter users expressed support for Bullock’s idea, and one person even designed a jersey using the blue and pink of the transgender flag. Others were critical of his statement.
Why would you want to sexualize sports like that? Lgbtq is purely sexual. It literally represents people who like having sex in a specific way. Nba should be family friendly— andy (@andy03327147) April 22, 2018
The NBA, like many other sports leagues, is slowly crawling toward a more LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere. In 2014, Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to participate in the NBA — and in any of the major North American professional sports leagues. The same year, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player in the NFL. The NHL, however, does not currently have any openly gay coaches, players, or referees.
Efforts like Bullock's to challenge anti-LGBTQ sentiment in sports can help create a more inclusive environment for athletes of all gender orientations and sexualities. Using his platform to improve inclusivity in sports is a commendable effort, especially given the great loss he suffered as a result of hatred toward LGBTQ individuals.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports