Excitement is building for NBA fans who have been desperate for competitive basketball since the 2019-20 season was postponed three months ago, but that enthusiasm is not shared by everyone inside the league.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported on Friday that there are a significant number of NBA players who are upset a vote was not held to allow players to decide whether or not they wanted to finish the season. Some players were already uneasy about resuming play amid the coronavirus outbreak, and now there is a feeling among a portion of the NBA community that it is “bad optics” to play with protests raging across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“What message are we sending by agreeing to this during this time?” one black player told Haynes. “We’re out here marching and protesting, and yet we all leave our families in these scary times and gather to perform at a place (Walt Disney World) where the owners won’t be at? What type of sense does that make? We’ll be going backwards. That place isn’t that magical.”
The reason very few players have expressed concern publicly over resuming the season is that they do not want to openly disagree with superstars who have said they want to play, according to Haynes. Carmelo Anthony is one player who has gone on the record questioning whether or not finishing the season is a good idea.
Players reportedly will not be obligated to take part in the resumption of the season, and the NBA has a plan in place for accommodating players opting out. It seems unlikely that a key player on a playoff-caliber team will bow out, but some may be more reluctant than others.