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NBA players expressing concerns over return to 2019-20 season

The NBA is planning on restarting the 2019-20 season on July 30, but not everyone within the league is on board just yet.

Several reports surfaced on Friday detailing how a large group of players is concerned over potential safety regulations, the apparent lack of a true “bubble” concept, and how the current racial tensions could affect a return to play.

On Thursday, it felt like a return to professional basketball in late July was a sure-fire outcome. 24 hours later, however, fans have learned just how complicated this process actually is. It appears to stem from one major issue, which was originally reported by Taylor Rooks and Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, and later confirmed by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, that a “significant number of players disappointed their voice wasn’t heard in decision to restart season.”

Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving, who will not participate in any return to play due to a pre-existing injury, has been a “driving force” in trying to create more transparency between the league’s top officials and all of the players – not just the high-profile members of the National Basketball Players Association. According to Rooks and Beck, up to 200 players could participate on the call set for Friday evening.

Throughout Friday, several prominent NBA players discovered via Twitter that they might not actually be as highly-quarantined in Orlando as originally thought. Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports reported that Disney employees be will be allowed to go in and out of the “bubble” as they please, even though NBA players will be forced to quarantine, raising concerns that the area isn’t isolated and is more of a petri dish.

The Disney staff will reportedly have to follow safety protocols, but will not be forced to remain within the bubble.

Along with a sense of feeling neglected, other players have expressed that they don’t want to be a pawn in helping the league recover lost revenue when coronavirus cases in Florida are currently on the rise and team owners sit safely at home. There has also been a concern that less-popular players going against a return to play would upset the stars of the league.

Haynes wrote that some players believe it is “bad optics” for the league to return to play during a massive movement for more racial justice, especially when you consider that the majority of players are Black.

“What message are we sending by agreeing to this during this time?” one anonymous Black player told Yahoo Sports. “We’re out here marching and protesting, and yet we all leave our families in these scary times and gather to perform at a place where the owners won’t be at? What type of sense does that make? We’ll be going backwards. That place isn’t that magical.”

The matter of allowing family members into the bubble is another area that needs to be fleshed out more. Anybody that comes to Orlando will technically be allowed to leave, but they would be subjected to a 10-day quarantine once they came back before they could have any human interaction.

But here’s the main issue with all of this and why canceling the season is still out of the question: everyone would lose a boatload of money, players included, and it could have devastating financial long term effects. Nate Jones, a longtime marketer within the NBA, tweeted in detail the catastrophic results that might come from a canceled season.

“Whatever choice they make, that needs to be fully understood,” Jones tweeted in the thread. “If the season is canceled, the NBA will 100% rip up the current CBA. Negotiating a new CBA in the middle of a pandemic will be an opportunity for ownership to try to take a bigger share of BRI and give less guarantees.”

There isn’t one singular issue that sticks out more than the others right now – all of them need serious attention. Canceling the season is the last thing anyone within the NBA wants to do, but ensuring that is proving to be much easier said than done.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

10 Comments for NBA players expressing concerns over return to 2019-20 season

  1. terwilliger
    7:04 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    Kyrie Irving also thinks the earth is flat.

  2. Mc12
    7:38 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    Just cancel the season

  3. BigBlueFoo42777
    8:34 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    How are they different than the rest of us who recently had to go back to work or never got to take off work. Playing basketball is their job. The owner of the company I work for is safe at home also but that doesn’t make him a bad person. It makes him the boss.

  4. UKCatAttack
    9:13 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    Cancel the season and put a stop payment on their paychecks. They are literally going to Disney World to stay in a 4 star all inclusive resort, play basketball, and get paid millions of dollars. Somebody get them a tissue.

  5. UKFanSC
    9:13 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    This guy is a buffoon. A well-documented flake.

  6. Lip Man 1
    9:22 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    MC12: EXACTLY correct. Trying to play these convoluted bastardized seasons is simply insane and completely illegitimate.

  7. T-Town Cat
    10:33 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    Do any of them see the irony of worrying about not being in a “bubble” at Disney World while they’ve “been out there marching and protesting”?

  8. Alex90
    11:38 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    They are employees for an organization. Lately these big name players have forgotten that and hold the organization hostage. Put an end to this and give them the option of playing or not getting payed.

  9. millertim
    8:15 am June 13, 2020 Permalink

    Further proof that today’s athletes are powder puffs… Every day you rise from bed there is a danger! This virus is not harmful to able-bodied, young people— at worst you get a fever for a day or so— big deal! None of these athletes are in the highly suseptible category— senior citizens, or have a previous debilitating condition. Grow up and grow a pair. How many of them recently marched in a protest mob which was much more like a “petri dish” than the occassional Disney employee walking through the complex “bubble”…