Kyrie Irving became a leading force for the NBPA, as several players are questioning the validity of the NBA season return plan amid the global pandemic and social unrest.
The Brooklyn Nets superstar, along with the Lakers’ Avery Bradley, formed a coalition group in order to request a further examination of the plan to restart the season in Orlando.
The group supplied Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews, who covers the Nets for ESPN, with a statement in order to present their concerns in the media:
“We are a group of men and women from different teams and industries that are normally painted as opponents, but have put our egos and differences aside to make sure we stand united and demand honesty during this uncertain time,” the coalition said.
“Native indigenous African Caribbean men and women entertaining the world, we will continue to use our voices and platforms for positive change and truth.
“We are truly at an inflection point in history where as a collective community, we can band together – UNIFY – and move as one. We need all our people with us and we will stand together in solidarity.
“As an oppressed community we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP [intellectual property]/Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ us.
“WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!
“We are combating the issues that matter most: We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities. We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being. And we will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making sound decisions.
“This is not about individual players, athletes or entertainers. This is about our group of strong men and women uniting for change. We have our respective fields, however, we will not just shut up and play to distract us from what this whole system has been about: Use and Abuse.
“We are all fathers, daughters leaders and so much more. So what is our BIG picture? We are in this for UNITY and CHANGE!”
The reasons players are concerned about joining the Orlando “bubble”
The topics the concerned players want to discuss, according to Woj, are the social justice reform, the injury risks and of course the safety of the players in Orlando.
“Irving, Bradley and the coalition of players want to pursue some concerns further with the league, sources said, including: the investment of resources and ideas of all league constituencies – from the commissioner’s office, ownership level, management and the players’ association – in social justice reform.
Among concerns surrounding the league’s return to play after a three-month shutdown in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, sources said the coalition is citing: a surge in positive coronavirus cases in Florida, conditions surrounding the restrictive environment in the bubble, insurance and liabilities for players based on possible illnesses, and injuries in a truncated finish to the season.”
According to the report, the NBPA and the NBA are in constant touch with the players that they voiced concerns in order to better understand how they should move forward and find a common ground on getting players