On Friday evening, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving led a conference-call of 80+ NBA and WNBA players about potentially not playing again this season. These would be due to the coronavirus risks and to protest the racial injustices taking place in the United States
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” said Irving on the call. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls**t. Something smells a little fishy.”
Sources say that other outspoken players included Carmelo Anthony of the Trailblazers and Chris Paul of the Thunder. The WNBA players in the call are reportedly willing to back the NBA players and follow suit in their league. The WNBA just submitted a return to play proposal to the players, entailing a 22-game season with full pay.
“I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform),” added Irving in the call.
From what sources have heard, a lot of players respect Irving for this and would potentially follow suit and sit out. One player told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that “he’s trying to give players a platform to be able to have a discussion — on the bubble, racial equality and unity…It’s a good call.”
Throughout the past week, the NBA was finalizing their plans to return to play at Disney World in Orlando. But with the racial injustices and rising coronavirus cases in Florida, players are having second thoughts. If players ultimately decide that they do not want to play the rest of the season, then the season would just be outright canceled. From there, we would likely see a somewhat normal offseason, but we aren’t to that point yet.