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After players voiced their issues about the NBA resuming its season in July, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league is taking the problems into consideration.
“We understand the players’ concerns and are working with the Players Association on finding the right balance to address them,” Bass said, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.
As Stein noted, players are upset about diverting attention away from Black Lives Matter protests as well as restrictions that will come from playing in Orlando and injury risks after a long layoff.
The NBA announced the 2019-20 season will restart in July with 22 teams after being on hiatus since March due to the coronavirus. However, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving held a call with almost 100 players on Friday with a plea to sit out the games, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Per Wojnarowski, several players have said they will sit out the resumed season.
The interest in supporting the ongoing protests is significant, with players believing they don’t want to lose the message.
“Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night. It’s a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what’s happening in our communities,” one widely respected NBA player said.
There have been worldwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality for several weeks after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Former player Matt Barnes recently said “there’s some whispers about some teams not being comfortable” returning to action, via Yahoo Sports’ Dunk Bait.
Injuries also remain a significant issue, with players reportedly seeking league-financed insurance policies if they play this summer, per Wojnarowski.
The union team reps voted 28-0 to restart the season, per Stein, but there is still significant disconnect with the players.