AS the player debate on the NBA season resumption simmers, the league’s restart plans got a backer in leading infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases called the NBA plan “creative,” and said other leagues can learn from it.
"I've looked at that plan and it is really quite creative," Dr. Fauci told digital network Stadium.
"What they are really trying to do and I think they might very well be quite successful with it, is to create a situation where it is as safe as it possibly could be for the players by creating this bubble.
“Essentially testing everybody, make sure that you start with a baseline of everybody being negative and trying to make sure that there is no influx into that cohort of individuals and do a tournament-type play.”
"It's not the classic basketball season, but certainly for the people who are thirsting for basketball, who love basketball the way I do ... it's a sound plan."
"I think that you might be able to do something like that with basketball. Could you extrapolate that to some of the other sports? Possibly. I think they should look at that model, see how it works, and then take it from there, maybe modifications of that for some of the other sports."
The NBA is looking to resume action minus eight teams at Disney Resort in Florida, and has made an assurance that COVID-19 tests to be done to players and staff will not affect necessary tests for frontliners and patients.
Player factions on NBA restart
While LeBron James and other stars are looking forward to the season resumption, several players have voiced out their concerns.
Kyrie Irving, who had season-ending surgery earlier this year but whose team Brooklyn Nets is included in the NBA’s 22-team restart in Orlando, reportedly told players during an online meeting last week to consider not seeing action.
Apart from quarantine issues and health protocols, some players including Dwight Howard of the LA Lakers and Lou Williams of the LA Clippers, are concerned the resumption will be a distraction from the calls for social change that has risen after the death of a black man in custody of police officers.
George Floyd died last month on a street in Minneapolis after pleading that he could not breathe as a police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck. Reports say officers responded to a call from a grocery store claiming Floyd used a forged check.
Other players including the Houston Rockets’ Austin Rivers and the Clippers Patrick Beverley are backing the restart plan.
Rivers said when players play and earn, they will be better positioned to help.
“With this money you could help out even more people and continue to give more importantly your time and energy towards the BLM movement. Which I’m 100% on board with,” Rivers posted on Instagram.
“Because change needs to happen and injustice has been going on too long. But also….. Not to mention there are plenty of NBA players I know who need them paychecks…99% of the NBA hasn’t made the money a guy like Kyrie has.”