Fred VanVleet skeptical about NBA’s new COVID-19 protocols
The NBA instituted far more stringent and restrictive COVID-19 protocols this week, and Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet is among the players expressing skepticism that the changes will do much to improve the rapidly deteriorating situation.
The postponement of Wednesday’s tilt between the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns marks the sixth game delayed by the NBA due to COVID-19 issues and associated contact tracing procedures since just Sunday and the seventh overall this season.
Count VanVleet in the camp that the NBA may experience great difficulty getting the league’s coronavirus situation under control, even with the enhanced measures.
“It does feel like trying to plug holes in a sinking boat… (I’m) just (trying to) continue to be optimistic and positive about it because it’s not changing anytime soon,” VanVleet told reporters Wednesday, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “So either get with the program or stay home, and I’m at work today.”
On Tuesday, the NBA spelled out in a statement “additional measures to supplement Health and Safety protocols,” which include restrictions on activities outside team environment as well as additional mask and testing policies, among other enhancements. Will the players buy in, however?
“We’re human,” VanVleet added. “We’re human and we all have different emotions and different feelings about it, and you feel different about it everyday. If you ask me today, I’m not terribly upset about any of the things we have to do. It kinda is what it is at this point.”
The league added in its statement that the updated protocols “may be additionally amended during the season as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic evolves.” With things currently spiraling out of control, the pressing question is whether the NBA will be even able to continue the 2020-21 season in the first place in light of what’s occurred over the past few days.
In other words, is it possible the NBA may have to pull the plug on the season, at least temporarily, and reconsider going back to the bubble format that worked out so well last season in Orlando? Given the staggering logistics involved and anticipated player pushback, among other factors, that might be a Pandora’s Box the league may be unwilling to even contemplate opening.