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 players remain 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 have 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 Players Association are negotiating a plan that would allow those players to remain home without incurring negative consequences.
Major points for concern among the faction that is questioning the return to play 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, players who leave the campus won’t be allowed to return without undergoing a 10-day quarantine upon their return to the site.
Players on teams who aren’t legitimate contenders for the NBA championship have reportedly 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 a 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 with regard to 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 be given replacement players. Players 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 the 22-team resumption of play plan earlier this month, with a targeted return date of July 31. The Players Association put its own stamp of approval on the plan shortly thereafter.