The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced they finalized a comprehensive plan for a July 30 restart to the 2019-20 season. The plan includes stringent health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and also the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.
Additionally, the plan includes all games being played at the Arena, the Field House and Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The league will resume with 22 teams returning to play and no fans in attendance.
The health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with public health experts, infectious disease specialists and government officials.
As part of the agreement, the NBA and NBPA set a goal of finding tangible and sustainable ways to address racial inequality across the country, so that will also be a large area of focus when play resumes.
“We have worked together with the Players Association to establish a restart plan that prioritizes health and safety, preserves competitive fairness and provides a platform to address social justice issues,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.
“We are grateful to our longtime collaborator Disney for its role in playing host and making this return to play possible, and we also thank the public health officials and infectious disease specialists who helped guide the creation of comprehensive medical protocols and protections.”
While agreeing on such difficult terms and issues likely wasn’t easy, it is good to see the two sides were able to do so without any delays.
“It is very exciting to officially announce the restart of the 2019-2020 season,” added NBPA executive director Michele Roberts.
“It has taken true collaboration between the League and the Union – special kudos to our Executive Committee and several other team reps – along with the continued support and assistance from medical experts, public health officials and many others.
“Additionally, our platform in Orlando presents a unique opportunity to extend the ongoing fight against systemic racism and police brutality in this country. We will continue to work with our players and the League to develop specific plans in Orlando as well as long-term initiatives to bring about real change on these issues.”
The NBA also announced that 16 players tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) of the 302 who were examined the first time around, so they will have some time to get healthy before entering the Orlando bubble to finish out the season.
Health and safety remains the most important factor in all of this, so all of the players and people involved must be 100% committed for it to work.
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