The NBA wants to return and on Friday, teams were given an expected timeline for the rest of the season. According to reports, resumption of play will happen at Walt Disney World Resort next month.
However, while the league has not yet completed negotiations with the NBA Players Union on the health and safety protocols. However, there are other more personal issues at play.
Many players are concerned that returning to work could divert the spotlight from the efforts made by numerous players taking an active role in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think guys are gathering to really talk about and dive deep into the idea of not playing,” Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers told the New Orleans Pelicans’ JJ Redick on a podcast from The Ringer.
The Pelicans and Pacers are included in the 22-team field.
A Player’s League
About 80 players met on a conference call Friday night organized by the Nets’ Kyrie Irving. They discussed their reservations about playing amid the unrest over racial issues in the country.
A member of the Player’s Union’s executive council, Irving has been one of the main figures behind player pushback, according to multiple reports.
The Nets’ Garrett Temple, who is also a member of the NBPA’s executive council, has countered Irving’s perspective in multiple interviews.
He insists that the NBA’s return would provide black players with a considerable stage; allowing them to help fuel the push for social justice.
However, there are potentially dire financial consequences that players could face if this season does not resume. The league would have the ability to terminate its collective bargaining agreement with the union is one fear.
However, some players believe it would be “bad optics” for the league. The NBA consists of an estimated 80 percent African-American players. Playing games amid protests against systemic racism can be deemed insensitive.
“Look at the lengths that we’re going to play a basketball game when there’s something so much greater going on — something so much more meaningful going on that really needs us,” Lillard told GQ. “So I mean it’s a battle every day for me, man.”
There is still a lack of diversity at the highest levels on the business side of the game. With no action or real statements from team owners, the NBA is undergoing its own revolution.