The NBA Should Stop for a Little Bit
As soon as it was announced that the 2020-2021 NBA Regular Season was not going to be held in a bubble, everyone knew the writing on the wall. Everyone knew that COVID-19 would be an intermittent problem during the season. Foolishly, however, no one in the league office foresaw exactly how big of a problem in was going to be.
As of right now, we are three weeks into the season. Already, a handful of games have been postponed, including on opening night, and the Boston Celtics haven’t played in almost a week because they can’t field the minimum eight players required. Additionally, the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City Thunder have all had to halt play at some point in order to address contact tracing issues.
At this point, the best step forward is this: the NBA has rules concerning what constitutes “being in contact” with a COVID-positive person. Needless to say, they’re very strict. What the league should do is postpone every game for a week, let everyone get healthy, quarantine, and then resume the season. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening because the league office is running on a tight schedule (the Finals are supposed to end 1 week before the start of the Tokyo Olympics).
It’s unfortunate, but this is how it’s going to work. It’s simple: players are going to continue getting infected, contact tracing will continue to get games postponed, and somewhere in the next couple of months, there will be a crunch. It’ll be bad. But it’ll be so much worse than simply postponing the season for a week. And that’s the unfortunate part. The league cares more about money and keeping the show going than making sure the players can perform safely.