NBPA Boss Disappointed In Criticism Of Teams Administering Tests
NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts said she was "disappointed" in the criticism NBA teams and players have gotten for receiving access to coronavirus tests, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Roberts said, "There's nothing irresponsible -- if you've got that information (that you've been exposed) -- about trying to get the tests." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver last night noted eight teams had been tested since last Wednesday, when Jazz C Rudy Gobert tested positive. The Nets were among those tested, and N.Y. Mayor Bill de Blasio "blasted the team on Twitter and suggested NBA players were being given preferential treatment because they were rich and had access to better health care than the general population, where there has been frustration over testing protocols and availability." Roberts said that she "understood the criticism but reiterated her criticism of how the government has handled the crisis" (ESPN.com, 3/18). Silver last night said the NBA has been "following the recommendations of public health officials" regarding testing, though he admitted he understands "from a public health standpoint why some people have reacted the way they did." He said the "fundamental issue ... is there are insufficient tests" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/18).
CREATING A TESTING PROCESS: In L.A., Tania Ganguli reports the NBA "asked teams to create an arrangement with an infectious disease specialist with whom they could consult, and have a process in place for testing their players should the need arise." When it was "decided they needed to test their players, most teams paid for the tests to be administered and analyzed at private facilities" (L.A. TIMES, 3/19). USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt notes the Nets and Thunder "acknowledged they used private facilities to test players and staff for coronavirus and explained why they did" in statements released yesterday (USA TODAY, 3/19). In Detroit, Rod Beard cites a source as saying that the Pistons' tests were "done through a private lab and only for members of the traveling party who had direct contact with Gobert -- and also either presented with symptoms of the illness or had underlying respiratory issues or health conditions" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/19). In Philadelphia, Keith Pompey cites sources as saying that some 76ers players "were tested on Monday," while some staff members are "still waiting to be tested" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/19).
HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS? Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban appeared on CNN last night and was asked by host Chris Cuomo if there are "two tiers of medical justice" with so many NBA teams and players being tested. Cuban said, "We've just followed the protocols for our players. We're keeping them effectively under quarantine and talking to them everyday with medical professionals." He added, "It's not like something was offered to us that other people couldn't get. We face the dilemmas that every organization faces" ("Cuomo Prime Time," CNN, 3/18).
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote it is important to note that none of the teams to conduct testing are "trying to act improperly." The NBA and its teams have "been at the forefront of this fight," and it "isn’t the league’s fault there aren’t enough tests in this country." However, the NBA "might be better off using its resources to get tests for the people who need them most" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/18). THE ATHLETIC's Marcus Thompson II wrote even if there is an "explanation as to why the NBA players are getting access to the tests, it doesn’t change the public relations nightmare it might cause," and it "doesn’t fully excuse them getting the lion’s share of available tests" (THEATHLETIC.com, 3/18).