Even as the NBA works to finalize specific dates for various aspects of its resumed season, there’s “growing concern” about the plan among players, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report (via Twitter).
Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report (via Twitter) reports that approximately 150 players are planning to take part in a conference call tonight to discuss what they can do to take a stand expressing their concerns and reservations about the league’s Orlando plan.
Beck (Twitter link) hears that up to 200 players may be involved in that call, adding that NBPA vice president Kyrie Irving has been a “driving force” in raising concerns and organizing player discussions. Irving believes that the idea of not returning to play should be considered, given the importance of the anti-racism activism currently happening in the U.S. and around the world, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
According to Beck, one agent estimated that about two-thirds of the league’s top 40 players may refuse to play based on the current information presented by the league.
As we’ve detailed in previous stories, players’ concerns are related to their health and safety, spending significant time away from their families, and directing the spotlight away from social justice issues. Beck suggests that the proposed restrictions involving freedom of movement within the so-called “bubble” in Orlando are also a key factor.
Although players will technically be allowed to leave the campus-like Disney environment after reporting in July, as Jared Dudley explained last month, recent reports have suggested they’d be subject to a 10-day quarantine period for doing so. In other words, leaving the “bubble” likely wouldn’t be a viable option for a player once the season officially resumes, since it would mean missing at least four or five games.
On top of that, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe (video link) and Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports (Twitter link) have pointed out today, the Disney support staff involved in the restart won’t be subject to the same protocols as players, coaches, and other NBA personnel. Those Disney staffers would be free to come and go from the premises as needed, without necessarily being tested daily for COVID-19.
Players who are already apprehensive about spending weeks or months on the Disney campus may push back against the idea of doing so if they feel as if the “bubble” isn’t really a bubble and that their safety could be compromised by support staffers.
Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links) hears from a Walt Disney World source that there would be Disney employees willing to stay in the “bubble” for months on end to help complete the season and reduce health risks, but it’s unclear whether Disney and/or the NBA would ask those staffers to do so.