The NBA is preparing to resume the season in Orlando next month as the coronavirus continues to plague Florida.
According to CBS News, the state established another single-day coronavirus registry with more than 4,000 new cases. The number of infections statewide increased to 93,000. Florida was one of the first states to reopen and is now seeing an explosion of cases. So what does this mean for the NBA?
The league released its health and safety protocols for the resumption of the 2019-20 season last week detailing the required COVID-19 tests, magic bands, social distancing guidelines, and more. Adam Silver and Co. are doing everything possible to limit the risk of widespread infection on the Disney campus.
The Orlando Pride withdrew from the NWSL Challenge Cup tournament after six players and four staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, the club announced Monday.
Boxing has already had enough coronavirus scares in its Top Rank bubble, which consists of approximately 150 people each week. The NBA is about to send thousands to Central Florida.
The Toronto Raptors have already made the trip to Fort Myers, Florida to train until they move to Orlando in mid-July. Other teams will arrive in Florida from July 7 to 9.
Should the NBA move to a different state to resume the season? Crossover staff explore options.
Should they? Probably. Florida is a disaster, the state’s COVID-19 numbers (predictably) skyrocketed after they collectively shrugged at the precautions medical experts told officials to take. Floridians flooded the beaches, while Governor Ron DeSantis invited sports leagues to hang a tile in the sunshine, all while doctors warned about moving too fast. The NBA bubble has holes, and Disney employees prepare to enter and exit without being subjected to the same tests as team and league personnel. He argues that the health risk of elite athletes infected with coronavirus is all you want, but positive tests will wreak havoc in the NBA postseason, and positive tests are inevitable.
Still: the NBA is engaged here. And these playoffs are viewed as too big to fail. The NBA has huge financial obligations to its television partners and they need to play to meet them. As bad as it is in Florida, it will have to get significantly worse for the league to reconsider going there.
A couple of weeks ago, San Francisco, where I live, announced that the city would allow various types of businesses to reopen in mid-July. Among the businesses were hairdressers, which was good news, because frankly, I look ridiculous right now. I made an appointment. I was psyched up, and not just because I have some kind of bald / feather / mullet combination. Things returned to normal.
Only now they are not. The numbers are increasing everywhere, including California and, of course, Florida. Since the coronavirus epidemic began, I, like many people, have been vacillating between absolute fear and cautious optimism, and this was only the last pivot.
What does this have to do with the NBA? Much. The only thing we know for sure about COVID-19 is that we don’t know anything for sure. (Remember when everyone consoled themselves with the idea that the virus would weaken when the weather warmed up? Well, Orlando is pretty toasty these days, and that doesn’t seem to be working well.) The NBA plan looked great on paper a week ago. Now, like my half hour of relaxation in a barber’s chair, it is filled with nine kinds of anguish. Of course, it would be great to see if a bubble plan could really work, and it’s tempting to say: Just go and try. But deep down we all know that this is not right. Asking players to participate in the bubble is like asking them to try an unproven vaccine.
There is a great line in Superfluous or useless things, pronounced by Al Swearingen: “Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.” That has never been truer than it is now, when we face a disease that ensures one thing: the immediate future has never been more uncertain. And that’s not a safe or justifiable backdrop to relaunch the NBA.
It may be too early to decide whether the NBA should abandon its Florida plan, because if it does, it will likely eliminate the rest of the 2019-20 season.
The NBA has put a lot of effort, including a 113-page health and safety protocol plan, into its bubble plan in Orlando. The goal of those protocols is to keep players safe, but there are times when completing the season seems to be increasingly difficult. The location, in particular, is providing unreliable circumstances, further highlighted by Orlando’s women’s soccer team, the Pride, which is forced to withdraw from the NWSL Challenge Cup due to six positive COVID-19 tests between players and four. between staff members.
Commissioner Adam Silver has expressed his determination to continue the league’s restart in Florida, but the final decision may be due to the results of the league’s upcoming COVID-19 tests and how many players choose to opt out of the plans. the season. If a significant number of notable players choose to stay at home, will it be worth a bubble within an area where positive evidence is increasing?
If Florida’s trajectory remains the same, then the NBA may be forced to further strengthen its “bubble” measures to keep players away from outside influences. If that’s the case, then the number of players willing to sacrifice to crown a champion will likely be the deciding factor as the July 30 goal start date approaches.
If the NBA were solely motivated by player safety, it would withdraw from Florida sooner rather than later. And frankly, the league would go under to resume the 2019-20 season entirely. But neither the NBA nor the players have safety as the only priority. There is a massive financial incentive for both sides, and the league could face a real crisis if the 2019-20 season is not completed. There is a lot to lose for both the NBA and the players.
This is not really an NBA criticism. I suppose a sizable majority of players would risk a small batch of positive COVID-19 tests to preserve their money pool for 2020. Not that the league is not taking precautions against the coronavirus. It has a complete 113-page manual to test it.
Perhaps the NBA and the players are being a little callous even considering the resumption of the season, but for most, too much is at stake. Unless another viable location arises, the NBA is correct in moving forward with its current plan.
There should be no kickback against NBA players who don’t want to compete in the league restart. Whether it’s concerns about hiring COVID-19, not wanting to leave the family for months, long-term financial reasons, mental health reasons, social justice related reasons, or others, if players don’t want to participate in the restart they shouldn’t be perceived differently.
In a recent podcast, Pelicans guard JJ Reddick put it clearly, saying, “This is not what we signed up for. These circumstances are not normal for playing NBA basketball. “That said, it is difficult to blame the league for wanting to continue. There are obvious financial incentives and they have also recently released a comprehensive health and safety manual.
Obviously, the increase in COVID-19 positive tests is a concern, but if the league is ready to resume, the balance of space and control still makes Disney World an attractive option.
No. The NBA bubble is probably one of the safest places in the country, if not the world. Of course there is no ideal situation. But do we really think that such a closely monitored environment will be more at risk than where players and staff would otherwise be? And yes, it is located in Florida, however the goal is to make it an isolated site. According to Robert Roberts, the trips will not be made commercially and a baseline will be required to enter.
With all that said, the safety of everyone involved should be paramount. Hopefully the cases will drop as the season resumes approaches and the NBA should consider altering the policy on Disney personnel able to leave and re-enter if that is not the case.
Proper adjustments instead of full cancellation seem more prudent given all established protocols. And everyone’s individual decision about whether they want to attend must be respected.