The NBA is having to postpone more games each day because of COVID-19 concerns and nobody is quite sure how to handle that. Suggestions include hitting the “pause” button on the season, bubbling up again, just walking away and cancelling the whole thing and, of course, doing nothing and fighting through a season the way MLB and NFL did.
I’d like to propose another solution, one that I’m sure will lead to many objections.
It’s time to at least open a conversation about vaccinating the league’s players, coaches and support personnel. And not just the NBA (which would be easiest because of comparatively small rosters), but all sports teams.
Yes, I know Commissioner Adam Silver has been adamant about teams not “jumping the line” for the vaccine. He wants to make sure the people who need the vaccine the most get it in their proper turn.
I understand that. It’s admirable. But figuring the appropriate order is certainly a matter of opinion. And at some point I would point out that the NBA is an industry that benefits this country on more than one level.
First and most important, it generates hundreds of millions of dollars, not just for its players and owners, but for the economy in general. There are many associated businesses that feed off the NBA’s presence.
In addition, these teams -- particularly in markets such as Portland -- provide a source of community unity, pride and distraction from the day’s gloomy events. People in Oregon are invested in the Trail Blazers.
The team is also active in social justice messaging and without games or a season, it would be much more difficult for them to do that work.
And part of my argument, I must admit, comes from my own frustration about the way the vaccines are being administered in this state.
I’m not going to get into specifics here about the state’s priorities -- I leave that to you to argue. But according to the latest statistics I saw, Oregon has nearly 200,000 doses sitting around somewhere that still haven’t been administered.
And I wouldn’t complain for a second if about 30 of those went to Trail Blazer players and staff. Give it to the Timbers and Thorns, too.
And for all those people out there still doubting the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines, we would all have a very visible sample size to watch.
And no, in case you wondered, I haven’t yet been vaccinated. I'm in that line that I'm hoping they can jump.