Nuggets' Will Barton opts to educate over social justice message on jersey

Denver forward Will Barton said he will not wear a social justice message on his jersey, opting instead to continue to try to educate and "show people how to survive in this cruel world."

"I feel like I'd be cheating my race," Barton, who is Black, said of why he has decided not to wear a message on the back of his jersey. "At the end of the day, that's not going to do anything. Sports has been around for a long time; we've been putting T-shirts on and trying to bring awareness. At this point, I feel like that's not going to really do anything.

"I don't even want to cheat my people like that. I'd rather just keep trying to educate the youth and just try to show people how to survive in this cruel world."

After teammate Jerami Grant used his entire virtual interview session with reporters Wednesday to keep the spotlight on Breonna Taylor's death and police brutality, Barton is the latest Nuggets player to speak out on social justice.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone has also been outspoken on continuing to keep the fight for social justice and Black Lives Matter in the spotlight and not let NBA games take the focus off of that.

"Always keep the focus on the many that lost their lives to police brutality or racism," Barton said when asked what the media's role is in NBA players trying to effect social justice change. "Let's keep talking about it. At the end of the day, none of these platforms are going to be enough; if we think just us going out there and putting names on the back of our jerseys and still talking about it in the media is going to fix anything, we're fooling ourselves."

On Friday, Barton said he plans to continue to try to make an impact at the community level and to educate youth as best he can.

"I got some things bubbling up with my PR team about talking to local kids back in my city, whether it's at YMCAs, schools or having Zoom calls with them and just educating them on the world and how it is," said Barton, who is from Baltimore. "If we can't change it by a revolution, then [teach them] how to survive in this world and still be successful, be able to take care of yourself and the people you care about the most. I'm already active where I'm from anyway. I'm always in the trenches. I'm always talking to them and giving them free game. So, I'm just going to continue to do that."

Barton echoed a sentiment he shared with The Denver Post in late June that "the only way for real change is going to come is a revolution."

"Like I said, if it can't be a revolution, we gotta learn how to survive in this cruel world," Barton said. "So I'm just gonna give them game on how to survive and still be successful because I'm a living testament to it. I figured it out."