Do Not Bash Players for Sitting Out

Amid the NBA hiatus due to the current pandemic, the NBA is determined to return. They are aiming to return on July 30th, or the 31st. There are 22 teams who are being invited to Orlando to play in the “Happiest Place on Earth”.

With all this being said, there are a handful of players that are choosing to sit out. Many have announced this because of the “bubble rules” as well as the Black Lives Matter protests. Many are afraid that the NBA returning could take many eyes away from the movement itself, which could hurt the movement. They believe that the attention needs to be on the movement, and there are more important matters than just playing basketball.

If you are unfamiliar with the “bubble rules” that each player and staff member will have to follow, they basically have to stay within the confines of their teams respective resorts. They will have access to the pools, barbers, manicures, players-only lounge with NBA 2K, movie screenings, DJ sets, bowling and ping pong (no doubles though). This does exclude any family members and no access to the Disney World parks as well. They also will be required to wear masks as well as practice social distancing. Players will also be able to golf as well.

If a player LEAVES without NBA permission, the player will not be allowed to return to the Disney campus and they will not be able to be replaced. So this will put the team down a player if one chooses to leave.

Now players will be allowed to leave the campus, if approved by the NBA beforehand, but they will be forced to go through a 10-14 day quarantine, and they must have two negative tests to return to their team.

If a player tests positive, they will immediately be moved to “isolation housing” to be safely treated. No matter who tests positive, games will not be postponed or stopped. The NBA will continue on.

Even if some players are backing out due to the pandemic, that is an equally understanding reason to not play. Many players have kids, or older parents who are susceptible to COVID-19, which could put their families at risk. It is honorable of them to sit out because they are taking a huge risk to sit out, just to protect their families.

No matter their reason, you have to respect the players who are choosing to sit out the rest of the season.

Davis Bertans – F Washington Wizards: Will not play

Bertans has chosen to sit out for the rest of the season. He has not publicly given his reason, but it can be speculated that the pandemic, as well as his injury history can be a huge reason. He is due for a hefty payday after this season because of his career year with the Wizards. The Latvian Sniper could also be choosing not to play because he would have to travel internationally, and even if the Wizards made the playoffs, they would just have to play the Milwaukee Bucks. It would most likely be a quick trip just to go back home. Another thing worth mentioning is the risk of playing within this “bubble” environment.

Trevor Ariza – F Portland Trailblazers: Will not play

One of the most important parts of the “bubble rules” is no family members will be allowed to come. Due to a custody situation, Ariza will choose to sit out to spend time with his son instead. This is an honorable choice he has made to spend time with his son. No one should be frustrated or mad at Ariza for this decision.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant – G and F Brooklynn Nets: Injured, against playing either way

Kyrie Irving is the vice president of the NBA Players Association. Last week, he was all over sports media because he was very outspoken on being against the NBA return. This also followed with a teammate of his leaking a text that allegedly stated that Kyrie wants to make an “all player” league. This has not been confirmed nor denied by Kyrie himself. Kyrie was never going to play the rest of the season before the pandemic, and he has chosen to sit out after it as well. He and Kevin Durant have both chosen to not play in Orlando due to injuries.

Kyrie said “I don’t support going into Orlando, I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform),” This was allegedly said during a call amongst players.

With all this being said, I expect more players to come to a decision on sitting out or playing. Do not be surprised to see more players speak out on sitting out. Justise Winslow (Memphis Grizzlies), Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers) and Avery Bradley (Los Angeles Lakers) have all been considered undecided for returning.

Even Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers has voiced his concern about returning. Lou has said “If more black kids, more black adults, or any adults that’s dealing with police brutality are getting killed and we’re still outraged, I don’t know if it’s in our best interests to suit up because it looks like we don’t care,” Williams said. “You know what I mean? It’s just a fine balance we’re trying to create.” Lou Williams is “50-50” on returning at the moment.

Do Not Bash Players for Sitting Out

No matter what reason they have, do not bash any player for wanting to sit out.They don’t owe us an explanation for the exact reason they are choosing to sit out. Respect their decisions. Many don’t want to be without their families, or they don’t want to risk exposing their families to the virus. Choosing the decision to sit out has to be one of the toughest decisions because they could be ruining their careers by doing so. They are taking as much of a risk as the players who are choosing to play. Respect them for their choice and cheer on your favorite team. No matter if they are fighting for social justice, or working to protect their family, respect their decision to not play. Never bash a player because they are choosing to sit out during these difficult times.

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