PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JUNE 12
By Leo Haggerty
YOU’RE DOING WHAT
First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.
Ok, I went after the National Hockey League’s plan to resume their season pretty hard yesterday. So, today let me take a swipe at the National Basketball Association’s ideas to restart the 2019-20 campaign.
First, let me give you the particulars. The NBA is planning to resume play July 30th with 22 teams converging on a single site in the return-to-play plan with the finals concluding no later than October 13th. Players could arrive as late as July 5th with training camp starting on July 9th.
That part I believe the players can live with. Here’s the portion of the plan that I believe will be a huge problem for a large group of players.
All teams will be sequestered near Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort while playing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in what the NBA is referring to as a bubble environment. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, all 22 teams in a single central location and that’s just the beginning.
Now, the family and friends of players world be banned from the bubble until August 30th when 14 of the 22 teams will have been eliminated. That’s almost two months away from their loved ones.
Players have ben contracted to play basketball but now they’re being deployed like the military. That’s not what they signed up for but it gets better, or should I say worse from there.
If a players leaves the bubble without authorization they would be required to quarantine for 10 days before being allowed to play. Yes, you read that right.
So, imagine that members of a team go AWOL for a little fun night in O-Town after a big win that propelled their franchise to the NBA Finals and they get caught. Now, you have a conundrum.
What does Commissioner Adam Silver do? Does he delay the finals for 10 days or look the other way or forfeit the title to the opposition? All bad choices and he has to make one.
Plus, throw the Black Lives Matter movement into the mix and you can see why many NBA players have not embraced this plan. They look at it as a disaster waiting to happen and want no parts of any of it.
So, look for the NBA to possibly rethink their decision to restart. With Covid-19 still lurking plus nationwide protests still simmering, resuming the season would be a bad move for the Association.
So, I have already suggested the National Hockey League was making a big mistake by restarting. I’m going to say the NBA is going down the same wrong path as well and should hang it up for the 2019-20 season.
This plan is way too risky. Not just for the players but for the NBA too. This will probably not end well so why chance it.
Also, don’t think I’m just picking on the NHL and the NBA. Major League Baseball and the National Football League, you’re next. Trust me, either one won’t be pretty either.