NBA players will be allowed to return to team training facilities starting Friday, provided that their local governments do not have a stay-at-home order prohibiting such movement still in place as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Any workouts that take place would be voluntary and be limited to individual sessions only, according to a person familiar with the league’s decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because the directives from the league were not released publicly.
Group practices would not be allowed yet, and teams will not yet be permitted to organize in-person workouts.
But as certain states and municipalities began loosening restrictions on personal movement, the NBA decided it was time to let players return to their practice courts — if only on a limited basis. Georgia and Oklahoma are among the states that have allowed some businesses to reopen and some cities in Florida are expected to loosen their stay-at-home policies in the coming days, even though health officials are warning that such moves are being made too quickly.
WATCH | Pro sports leagues plan to return without fans in the stands:
For those teams in cities where stay-at-home orders still make such a return impossible, the NBA said it would work to find “alternative arrangements,” the person with knowledge of the matter said.
This move does not mean that a resumption of games is imminent. Still, the decision to let teams back into facilities is a significant step.
ESPN first reported details of the NBA’s decision.
In the NHL, suspended at about the same point of the season as the NBA, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said league officials “haven’t made any decisions yet.” Daly said only the NHL owes players and teams guidance before April 30 and will consider its next steps in that context.
Many players have said they haven’t even had access to a basket since the league ordered teams to close their practice facilities on March 19. All-Star Jimmy Butler sent baskets to his Miami Heat teammates earlier this month, but some other players around the league said they haven’t even touched a basketball during the shutdown.
If they’re so inclined, that can now change. There remains no indicator about when a full-fledged return to organized team workouts will resume, however.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said on several occasions that the league does not anticipate being able to decide until sometime in May — at the earliest — if a resumption of the season is possible.
The NBA suspended the season March 11. It ordered teams to shutter their facilities eight days later, saying at the time it was doing so “in light of the rapidly-developing coronavirus situation, and consistent with evolving advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the virus.”
Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the numbers of those affected or killed by the virus based off official government figures, said the COVID-19 worldwide death toll surpassed 200,000 on Saturday. And the World Health Organization said “there is currently no evidence” that people who have recovered from the virus cannot fall sick again.
Report: NBA to test players every night upon return – TSN
The National Basketball Players Association informed players on Friday they will work with the NBA to conduct COVID-19 testing every night during the resumed season according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The testing will likely involved mouth swabs or light nasal swabs and not full invasive nasal swabs. Should a player test positive, they will quarantine for a minimum of seven days.
Sources: The NBPA informed players today that NBA/NBPA will conduct coronavirus testing every night during resumed season — likely mouth swabs/light nasal swabs and not full invasive nasal swab. Minimum seven days quarantine for a player if positive.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 5, 2020
Charania also reports the league does not plan to shut down the season should a player test positive for the coronavirus. Players are expected to stay inside the league’s bubble environment in Orlando, while families are allowed to enter after the first round of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Charania also reports the NBPA has unanimously approved a 22-team return to play format beginning July 31 at Disney World. The news comes one day after the league’s board of governors voted 29-1 to approve the NBA’s summer restart plan.
The league and the union will continue to work though a number of details in the next week on the Orlando resumption.
As for the 2020-21 NBA season, reports from earlier in the week indicated the league was planning on beginning the regular season around the start of December but Charania writes the NBPA believes this to be “unlikely.” Charania adds they plan to negotiate the date.
The league paused its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert was revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19.
NFL stars send passionate video message to league about racial inequality – CBC.ca
Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas are among more than a dozen NFL stars who united to send a passionate video message to the league about racial inequality.
The 70-second video was released on social media platforms Thursday night and includes Odell Beckham Jr., Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins, among others.
Thomas, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver who has led the league in receptions the past two seasons, opens the video with the statement: “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered.” The players then take turns asking the question, “What if I was George Floyd?”
The players then name several of the black men and women who have recently been killed, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner.
“I AM George Floyd,” Hopkins says.
Adams follows with: “I AM Breonna Taylor.”
The video closes with the players insisting they “will not be silenced.” They also demand the NFL state that it condemns “racism and the systemic oppression of black people…. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting…. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
‘We were wrong,’ says NFL commissioner
Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league made mistakes in not listening to players, in a video on Friday denouncing racism in the United States amid widespread protests over police brutality against black people.
“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” said Goodell. “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
The NFL has been locked in an ongoing debate with players over kneeling protests during the national anthem before the start of games, a practice popularized by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
WATCH | NFL Commissioner admits league mistake for not listening to players:
Kaepernick filed a grievance against the league in 2017, claiming collusion as no teams signed him after he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL and Kaepernick settled in 2019.
“Protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” said Goodell. “I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve.”
The NFL sent the video out just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his call for an end to kneeling protests during the national anthem.
Jaguars lead march against racial injustice
The Jacksonville Jaguars protested against inequality and police brutality on Friday, marching from their stadium to the steps of the sheriff’s department.
“Today, we say, ‘No more,'” wide receiver Chris Conley said. “Today, we see a nation that can’t await change, a city that won’t sit still or be quiet.”
The Jaguars started their march at 9:04 a.m. local time to signify the local 904 area code.
The protest came two days after owner Shad Khan spoke against racism in a letter on the team website. He promised then the franchise would work toward a “timely response.” Former Jaguars receiver Ernest Wilford, now an officer at the department, joined them on the steps at the sheriff’s office.
Conley spoke at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He said he cried when he saw the video of the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was jogging when killed Feb. 23 in Georgia.
Marrone said the Jaguars are working on actions they believe can make a difference. He also challenged the white community to step back, listen and learn.
“Let’s not make the same mistakes we’ve made,” Marrone said. “We need to stand together white and black to make this movement work.”
With the NFL allowing only coaches to return to their offices Friday and players still working remotely because of the pandemic, several Jaguars could not take part in the march.
The team posted videos from a handful of players, including quarterback Gardner Minshew, linebacker Joe Schobert and defensive end Aaron Lynch. Schobert encouraged people to register to vote.
From <a href=”https://twitter.com/TheSchoGoesOn53?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@TheSchoGoesOn53</a> ⤵ <a href=”https://t.co/vOlqS7oeLi”>pic.twitter.com/vOlqS7oeLi</a>
The Jaguars’ protest is the latest involving professional athletes since the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis.
Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry marched in a protest Wednesday along with his wife and four teammates from the Golden State Warriors, including Klay Thompson. Shaq Thompson, and four other Carolina Panthers walked in a protest march Monday in Charlotte, with Thompson helping lead the way.
Broncos plan Saturday march in Denver
On Saturday, several Denver Broncos and coaches plan to march to the Colorado capitol, the site of daily demonstrations. Safety Kareem Jackson organized the gathering after saying Tuesday that players need to do more than tweet and talk because they all see what’s going on.
“I think it’s huge for us to be heard,” Jackson said Tuesday on a video call, “and it’s huge for us to be out in the community so everyone can see us and know that we stand behind them.”
Saints’ Drew Brees responds to Trump: It was ‘never’ about the flag – Sportsnet.ca
A day after he apologized for his comments about NFLers engaging in peaceful protest, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is defending his newfound stance to the president of the United States.
Earlier on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Brees for walking back his statements about kneeling during the national anthem.
“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honouring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high… We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag — NO KNEELING!” Trump tweeted.
Brees — who faced backlash from teammates, other athletes and fans for saying he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States” — acknowledged in an Instagram post Friday night that he has learned the protests initiated by Colin Kaepernick in the NFL and taken up by other players was never about the stars and stripes.
“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week,” Brees wrote.
“We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial and prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”
View this post on Instagram
To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.
A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:10pm PDT
Issues of police brutality and systemic racism have returned to the forefront of discussions around the NFL in light of the widespread protests over the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
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