NBA players at odds over a return

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The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to the terms for resumption of the 2019-20 season in Orlando. Some players, however, aren’t on board with that approach.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has made clear his belief that the season should not continue, although he has said he will defer to the will of his colleagues. Los Angeles Lakers forward Dwight Howard agrees with Irving.

“Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction,” Howard said in a statement provided by his agent to CNN. “I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA championship. But the unity of my people would be an even bigger championship, and that’s just too beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families? This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should be taking full advantage of. When have we ever had this amount of time to sit and be with our families? This is where our unity starts. At home! With family! European Colonization stripped us of our rich history, and we have yet to sit down and figure us out. The less distractions, the more we can put into action into rediscovering ourselves. Nations come out of families. Black/African American is not a nation or nationality. It’s time our families became their own nations. No basketball until we get things resolved.”

The opinions of Irving and Howard are not unanimous. Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers made the case on Saturday for continuing and finishing the season.

“Us coming back would be putting money in all our pockets,” Rivers wrote on Instagram. “With this money you could help out even more people and continue to give more importantly your time and energy to the [Black Lives Matter] movement. Which I’m 100 percent on board with. Because change needs to happen and injustice has been going on too long.”

From a labor law standpoint, none of this matters. Unless it can be shown that the rank and file should have voted on the return-to-play arrangement between the NBA and the NBPA, the union has reached an agreement that applies to all players. If the players don’t play, the owners could accuse them of engaging in what amounts to an illegal strike.

Whether it comes to that is a different issue. If some or all of the players decide not to play, the limit of any consequences arguably should be that they forfeit their pay. Between the pandemic and the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd (and now the murder of Rayshard Brooks), a decision by the NBA and its owners to show empathy, patience, and understanding in the short term makes far more sense than banging on the CBA and reminding the players of their obligations under it.

17 responses to “NBA players at odds over a return

  1. Put a fork in it. They’re done. Maybe they should start kneeling,… and then the Commish will see things the players way. Like Goodell.

  2. Never really cared for the NBA as it’s too much of a departure from real basketball, so I have no dog in this fight, but this is easy: If your hearts not in it, Don’t Play.

    Nothing in this world is forcing you to play professional basketball, certainly not “white privilege”.
    If you want to sit around and focus on your family, your cause, or contemplate your place in the universe and the reasons for your very existence, it’s simple, Don’t play.

    Have your agent tie up all the loose ends of your contract, take care of any outstanding obligations, whether it’s money owed or any other legal ramifications and move on.
    Otherwise you’re just boring everybody.

  3. Kyrie has made over 100 million in his career and is injured. He is on his last big deal. Easy for him to say not play.

  4. Dwight Howard’s been washed up for years but is still making max contracts. Go ahead and sit out to ponder what you lost from European Colonization.

  5. The players have already received most if not all of their money for the season, so why would they want to lock themselves up in Orlando for LeBron’s sake of trying to scratch out another run at a title.

  6. I couldn’t care less if they play again this season,wit til next season when things hopefully are better

  7. Ganttt_Hates_Me says:

    June 14, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Dwight Howard’s been washed up for years but is still making max contracts. Go ahead and sit out to ponder what you lost from European Colonization.

    Dont let facts get in the way of an argument I guess considering Howard was making nba veteran minimum for his years of service and his contract wasnt even fully guaranteed at the beginning of the season.

  8. The players are FREE MEN and under zero obligation to risk the lives of themselves along with their families for the amusement of “fans”.

    Some of you guys just don’t get it. There is A LOT more to life than just sports and these men realize that.

  9. Go ahead and sit. When you are broke in 5 years or less we will have the last laugh.

  10. Kyrie believes the earth is flat.

    This is complete disqualification from any serious consideration of anything he says ever

  11. Jackedupboonie hit the nail right on the head. If Lebron wasn’t trying to get this title, he would be saying heck no to finishing this season. Kyrie is only speaking what the majority of these players are thinking who have no chance of a title

  12. Sounds like Howard wants to retire. But I saw another story this weekend about top players being upset with the deal because they won’t be able to go out and “explore” (party) in Orlando. Where are the details on that?

    Anyway it doesn’t matter, after a quick search I found stories that players who don’t want to play will be allowed to without being punished. They just won’t get paid. So fine if a few don’t want to play let them sit out.

  13. At the and of the day in all sports, some will play and some won’t, some will need the money and some won’t.

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