Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, however, believes there are several players who are legitimately considering sitting out when the play resumes.
“I’ve talked to a few guys that are super interested in sitting out possibly,” Brogdon said Thursday on The JJ Redick podcast. “At the end of the day, I was actually talking to Chris Paul the other day and he said, ‘Man, this is an individual decision that every man has to make for himself.’ I think that’s exactly what it is. I think it depends on your perspective.”
Twenty-two of the league’s 30 teams will resume the regular season at the end of July at Disney World in a bubble of sorts to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There will then be a possible play-in series before the postseason takes place. Assuming everything goes well and sticks to the schedule, the season will be done by Oct. 12.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed Brogdon’s comments on Wednesday night, saying a “faction” of players joined a conference call to discuss whether the NBA’s plan was a good idea. Neither Wojnarowski nor Brogdon identified any players specifically who were part of that call or were hesitant about playing.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are expected to agree to a provision that doesn’t require players to participate should they not want to, too.
There were more than 2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday night, according to The New York Times, and nearly 114,000 deaths attributed to it. Florida had nearly 70,000 cases alone, and Orange County — where Disney World sits — saw a 64 percent increase in cases from May 5 to June 9, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Not just about the coronavirus
The decision to sit out, however, isn’t completely about the coronavirus.
According to Brogdon, it also has a lot to do with George Floyd’s death in police custody last month in Minneapolis and the massive protests and movements that have come from it.
“Some guys are going to say, ‘For health reasons, and COVID, and the long-term effects that we don’t understand about COVID, I want to sit out,’” Brogdon said on the podcast. “Other guys are going to say, ‘The black community and my people are going through too much for me to basically be distracted with basketball. I’m not going to prioritize this over the black community, I’m going to sit out.’ And then there’s another group of guys … who are going to say, ‘No, this is the most amount of money I’m going to make in my lifetime. It doesn’t make sense to hand this money back. I can do so much good in my community if I have this money.’
“I think it’s a matter of perspective. I think guys are gathering to really talk about and dive deep into the idea of not playing.“
Brogdon was averaging 16.3 points and 7.1 assists for the Pacers when the season was suspended. The Pacers currently hold a 39-26 record, and have secured their spot in Orlando. The 27-year-old, however, didn’t say whether he planned to participate or not.
While Brogdon said he is supportive of players who would choose to forgo the rest of the season, he wants to make sure that those who do understand it from both sides of the issue.
And, perhaps more importantly, he doesn’t want them to let that decision go to waste.
“My thing is if you’re going to sit out, you have to have demands,” Brogdon said on the podcast. “You have to have policies that you want to see changed. There has to be something very organized and strategized to go into that … The attention on you and your platform actually grows the farther you stay in Orlando. So that’s definitely a perspective I want guys to think about and understand before they make a decision.”
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