Over the weekend, Nets guard Kyrie Irving led a group of players who expressed their concerns with the NBA's plan to resume play in Orlando. The central issue, which players like Irving and Dwight Howard noted as the reason not to finish the season, was the Black Lives Matter movement and protests for criminal justice reform.
Some players, like Irving, believe basketball would serve as a distraction and draw attention away from such an important societal issue, while others see the possibility of having a season and still working to advance the movement forward.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, several players are discussing how to best use their influence, and while a number of players are in favor of not returning to play, so far there is no indication that the 22-team restart is in jeopardy.
The key word regarding the player's back-and-forth is "discussing." As Woj points out in his story, players aren't fighting over this issue, they're talking about how to best go about it. The NBA Player Association's executive director, Michele Roberts, has urged each player to make their own decision on whether to go to the Disney World bubble.
Players who choose not to go to Orlando won't be penalized by their teams, but they will lose payment on games missed. Those who believe they are at higher risk for COVID-19 will be excused with pay, but an independent doctor will have to evaluate them first.
While the uncertainty surrounding the league's plan to return to play appears to be fading away, the players have the right to sit out and their decisions should play a large part forming the league's power structure inside the bubble.
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