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George Hill on NBA coronavirus protocols: ‘I’m a grown man, so I’m gonna do what I wanna do’

Thunder guard George Hill

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 12: George Hill #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball during the game against the San Antonio Spurs on January 12, 2021 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA implemented new coronavirus protocols that essentially prohibit players from interacting with anyone outside their household or team.

Thunder guard George Hill, via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman:

“I’m a grown man, so I’m gonna do what I wanna do,” Hill said after the Thunder’s 112-102 loss to the Spurs. “If I wanna go see my family, I’m gonna go see my family. They can’t tell me I have to stay in the room 24/7. If it’s that serious then maybe we shouldn’t be playing. It’s life. No one’s gonna be able to just cancel their whole life for this game. That’s how I think about it.”

George sounds completely out of touch. Does he not realize many people have gone 10 months without seeing their family? They’ve done it not because of a game, but in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There are reasonable objections to the new protocols. Interactions that are two of outdoors, distanced and masked should be at least somewhat allowed. Players who’ve already had coronavirus should have greater freedoms, as the risk of reinfection is exceedingly low.

But George simply complaining that he can’t do whatever he wants shows an uncharacteristic lack of perspective.

Not only about the virus, but also the league.

NBA players draw extremely high salaries for extremely short periods of time. In his 13th season with nearly $100 million in career earnings, Hill has beaten the odds to have a great career. But for many other players, this is their narrow to earn major money. The season getting derailed by coronavirus would be devastating to them.

If he’d rather live freely than follow the (union-approved) protocols designed to keep everyone safe enough to continue games, George should opt out of the season and forgo his salary until it’s safe to play without the restrictions.

And that’s just about maintaining the league’s money-making operation. He also ought to consider a responsibility to keep people around him safe by limiting his interactions. Not everyone he comes into contact with embraces a higher risk profile.