The NBA isn’t ignoring the rising coronavirus numbers in Florida. Multiple parties — including players, executives and the league — have all expressed concern over restarting the season in Orlando with numbers on the rise, according to Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe of ESPN.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly addressed the issue on a call with high-level team executives. Silver, 58, was described as “resolute but somber” on the call. He expressed that the league should still go through with its plan, but also acknowledged the spike in coronavirus cases in Florida.
The state set a record with 4,049 new cases Saturday. Florida — along with Arizona and Texas — have experienced significant increases in new cases after reopening during the pandemic.
The NBPA also held a call to discuss the issue. Players reportedly expressed concern over Walt Disney World staffers, who would be part of the bubble, but would not receive regular coronavirus tests, according to ESPN.
Players brought up the fact that Walt Disney World staffers who will not reside in the NBA campus — including hotel housekeepers — will not be subject to any coronavirus testing, sources said. One mitigating factor that was cited, a source added: Many of the new cases are in areas other than Orlando.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said the players would keep an eye on those figures. If the union feels working conditions are unsafe, it would ask for Walt Disney employees to have limited access to the bubble. Roberts admitted she’s unsure how much the NBPA can dictate that situation, as many Disney employees are unionized.
Teams are expected to report to Orlando in early July. The league is hoping coronavirus cases will be on the decline at that point, and will further decline by the time games start July 30.
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