Although the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have agreed to a plan to resume the 2019-20 season in a bubble environment to mitigate the risks posed by the novel coronavirus, some individuals are reportedly unconvinced that doing so is a proper course of action.
ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday that a group of 40 to 50 NBA players has been participating in conference calls this week to express their concerns about finishing the season in a controlled environment at the Wide World of Sports Complex near Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As a result, the league and the NBPA are negotiating a plan that would allow those players to remain home without incurring negative consequences.
The major points of concern among the faction reportedly include family situations, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the emergence of Black Lives Matter protests and cries for social justice around the U.S., and the players’ inability to leave the Disney World campus. Per Wojnarowski’s sources, those who leave the campus won’t be allowed to return without undergoing a 10-day quarantine once they come back to the site.
Players on teams who aren’t legitimate contenders for the NBA championship have purportedly been among the more vocal in expressing their concerns about participating in the restart. As of this report, however, no group of players has officially petitioned the NBA or NBPA for dismissal or excused absence from the resumption. Nevertheless, the league and the union are proactively discussing the possibility.
According to Wojnarowski, the current proposal is that players with medical issues that could potentially put them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 would seek an independent examination to determine whether they can be excused from participation. However, even those that are told that they’re healthy enough to participate may be allowed to remain home. The catch would be that they would then forfeit their salaries for the remaining games that teams will be playing in Orlando.
The working plan for teams that have players deciding not to participate is that they make use of replacement players. Those opting out of participation would then be ruled ineligible for the remainder of the season, including the playoffs.
As reported previously by The Inquisitr, the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a plan for the resumption of play with 22 teams earlier this month, with a targeted return date of July 31. The NBPA put its own stamp of approval shortly thereafter.