The NBA has spared no expense to put an emphasis on player safety during the 2019-20 season restart at the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, Florida.
The league has reportedly established its health protocols for the 22 teams making the trip to the bubble environment and effectively made it clear that there will be repercussions for anyone that chooses to leave without permission.
This includes a 14-day maximum quarantine period and potentially having game checks withheld. Of course, the onus will fall on the NBA to enforce these restrictions that have raised concerns from players who were already troubled by the prospect of having to stay inside the bubble for the duration of eight regular-season seeding games and playoffs.
It is safe to say that the league has taken significant steps to prevent the possibility of an outbreak. According to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, players could face significant disciplinary action if they do not abide by the protocols:
“Failure or refusal to comply with the Protocols may subject a player to disciplinary action by the NBA or his team (but not both for the same act or conduct, pursuant to Article VI, Section 10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement), which may include a warning, fine, suspension, and/or removal from the campus,” the memo reads. “Repeat offenders may be subject to enhanced discipline. Player challenges to any disciplinary action shall be made through the Grievance Arbitration process of the CBA.”
Reports indicate players that leave without approval will be subject to enhanced testing along with being docked 1/92nd of the money owed to them for games missed. Although such an outcome is more than enough to keep all personnel within the confines of the bubble, it is imperative that they are at least made aware of the league’s efforts to prioritize safety.
The NBA is also reportedly set will to make an anonymous hotline available for anyone to report any action that goes against the protocols being put in place. While it remains to be seen just how useful the hotline will be, it could serve as another deterrent for players that are tempted to stray away from the bubble.
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