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DeMar DeRozan upset with NBA’s ‘frustrating and overwhelming’ COVID-19 safety rules

Ryan Young
·Writer
·3 min read
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The NBA has a long, thorough safety protocol in place for its season restart at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, in an effort to keep COVID-19 out as much as possible.

The 113-page manual explaining all of the rules in place, however, was too much for San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan.

Being able to compete on a basketball court in close contact with other players but not being allowed to play doubles pingpong back at the hotels, he said, doesn’t make any sense.

"The pingpong thing is ridiculous, to be honest," DeRozan said Thursday, via ESPN "Guys can't do this, but we can do this and battle over each other? That part just don't make no sense to me.

“I got through 10 lines of the handbook and just put it down because it became so frustrating and overwhelming at times, because you just never thought you'd be in a situation of something like this. So it's hard to process at times."

The NBA is set to resume play on July 30 amid the pandemic, which is still raging both in Florida and the United States as a whole.

There were more than 2.7 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 128,000 deaths attributed to it. The country recorded nearly 50,000 new cases on Wednesday alone, too, a new single day record.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

Florida had more than 169,000 cases, and set multiple single day records for new cases last week. Orange County, where Disney World is, had more than 11,000 confirmed cases.

DeRozan worried about mental health

While physical safety is clearly a priority for the league during the pandemic, DeRozan is worried about another extremely important health aspect for players during the NBA’s “bubble.”

He’s concerned for their mental health.

DeRozan, one of the biggest mental health advocates in the league, knows how difficult this new setup can be for players — especially being isolated for that long.

"Definitely been something in play that's being discussed is mental well-being for everybody," DeRozan said, via ESPN. "That will definitely be an option for guys, to be able to have resources there to stay on top of that. Because that's definitely going to be a new challenge for us all.

"It's tough. You're taking guys that have been with their families every single day for the last few months and all of sudden, separating everybody into this one confined space and taking away a lot of joyful things we do outside of basketball ... It'll be something for every single player when it comes to mental health."

Spurs star DeMar DeRozan knows how tough the NBA’s health and safety protocols in Florida will be on players’ mental health.
Spurs star DeMar DeRozan knows how tough the NBA’s health and safety protocols in Florida will be on players’ mental health. (AP/Eric Gay)

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