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NBA players who don’t want to play in restart reportedly will not be punished

NBA players don't want to play

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 17: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors is greeted by teammates during pre-game introductions prior to the start of their game against the Detroit Pistons at Air Canada Centre on January 17, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. 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. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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For all the testing and protocols the league puts in place, restarting the league in Orlando comes with risks to players’ health — and some NBA players don’t want to play and take that risk. Others don’t want to lace up their shoes until more is done on social and racial injustice issues.

Those players can choose to stay home from the restart and will not be punished by the team or league — but they will sacrifice pay — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He adds that the NBA and the National Basketball Players’ Association are negotiating the terms of that right now.

That there are players on a conference call talking about this shows it’s not merely one or two guys. The league and union have found a reasonable solution, letting players who don’t want to play stay home.

This is the right thing to do by the league. Players should not be forced to participate in this restart down in Orlando.

How much risk someone is willing to take right now is a personal decision. For a player with a child who is compromised in some way and at higher risk from the disease, they may want to accept far less risk than a single 22-year-old. There also are players with conditions that put them at higher risk from COVID-19, they should not be forced to play. Ultimately, it should be up to the individual player if they want to take the risks, and if not they should be able to stay home without fear of punishment.

However, it’s fair to say they should not get paid for not playing.

We will see how many players are willing to forgo their pay and stay home — and if that includes any key contributors on contending teams (where there may well be peer pressure to play and chase the ring). Maybe it’s just a few players, maybe it’s far more than we expect.

It’s a personal choice for each guy, and that’s as it should be.