NBA Criticized for Testing Players
NBA commissioner Adam Silver hopes to “salvage” the 2019-20 season, but also noted that he does not know if or when the season will resume. Can the league season be saved following its suspension due to COVID-19?
Silver suggested that the league could initially arrange games with "a group" of players or certain teams competing for charity. He said the resumption of professional basketball would be good for the "psyche" of the nation, and that he hopes the NBA can help jumpstart the economy once "public health officials give ... the OK." When asked whether the league could shift the calendar for games played, potentially with a start date closer to Christmas, he replied, "Possibly."
On a related note, eight full NBA teams have been tested for COVID-19, including the Jazz, Nets, Raptors and Thunder. In addition, it’s been reported that players from the Pistons, Lakers, Celtics and 76ers have been tested as well.
Some have criticized NBA teams and players for receiving access to COVID-19 tests, although NBA executive director Michele Roberts sounded off on Wednesday in defense of the league:
"There's nothing irresponsible -- if you've got that information [that you've been exposed] -- about trying to get the tests," Roberts told ESPN on Wednesday. "The problem that more of us can't get the tests -- and I'm not apologetic about saying it -- in my view, that rests at the foot of the federal government. They were responsible for making sure we were protected in that regard, and I think they failed.
"We shouldn't be fighting about this now ... but once this is done and we get through it, and we will, let's figure out who screwed up and fix that."
One of the league’s biggest critics has been Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City.
"We wish them a speedy recovery," de Blasio tweeted. "But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick."
Is the spread of COVID-19 not as big of a concern as determining who has the virus? If that’s the case, then de Blasio is being shortsighted. Yes, it’s a bad look if NBA players are being tested over those with weaker immune systems, but determining which players have the virus and placing them in quarantine helps stop the spread of the virus. Thus, it’s still important for anyone that can get their hands on a test be tested in efforts to stop the spread, especially those (such as NBA players) who may have been in contact with the virus. Why else is the nation going to such great lengths to protect its citizens by canceling events and closing down bars and restaurants?