As the NBA continues to prepare for a return to play, not every player is comfortable hitting the court.
According to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic, players can opt out of playing the remainder of the 2019-20 season when the league starts up again in Orlando — but they must inform their teams by June 24.
Players who wish to stay home, whether due to health risks or their own personal decision, when the games start up again will not be penalized for that decision.
In the past few weeks, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver has released more details about the league’s protocols around resuming play, a number of players have voiced concerns over how the decision was made — not everyone had a vote — and with regards to the risk factors. With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Florida, and with the news that employees at Disney World won’t undergo the kind of testing and symptom monitoring as NBA staff “in the bubble,” the unknowns have begun to pile up. There are also a number of prominent players discussing whether this is the right time to be quarantined in one site playing basketball, considering the current state of social unrest as the Black Lives Matter movement continues its fight against racial injustices.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has been a leading voice in that conversation. He reportedly led a players-only conference call with players from the NBA and WNBA to talk about how many athletes can stand united against racism.
Charania also reported some additional measures being taken by the NBA for players who leave the game site once inside the bubble — including a financial penalty for games missed due to quarantine upon return.