Carmelo Anthony wasn’t alone.
The Blazers forward is not the only NBA player hesitant about the 22-team restart in Orlando at the end of July as the novel coronavirus pandemic remains a threat. According to Yahoo Sports, there are a “significant number” of players unsure about it and “disappointed” they weren’t given the opportunity to vote.
Last week, the NBA Players’ Association executive committee and the board of representatives approved the league’s plan to return at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports, but apparently that wasn’t truly representative of the entire league. Players have expressed displeasure that their voices weren’t heard. Certain players, speaking to Yahoo Sports on condition of anonymity, believe that it would be sending a bad message for a league made up of mostly black men to be kept in a bubble to serve as entertainment as a time when racial injustice and police brutality is weighing on everyone’s minds.
“What message are we sending by agreeing to this during this time?” a black player told Yahoo Sports. “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 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.”
Yahoo reported there are some players who haven’t expressed their opposition to the plan because the league’s superstars want to play as long as they feel comfortable with the safety measures in place. It is up to each player if he wants to play, but they will only get paid if they compete.
Ironically, shortly after the story was published, the NBA’s restart schedule was leaked to The Athletic. They included the seeding games (July 30-Aug. 14), play-in tournaments if needed (Aug. 15-16), start of playoffs (Aug. 17), when family/guests can arrive (Aug. 30), conference semifinals (Aug. 31-Sept. 13), conference finals (Sept. 15-Sept. 28), and NBA Finals (Sept. 30-Oct. 10).