Close to three months after the NBA suspended its 2020 season amid a global pandemic, the organization announced that 22 of the league’s 30 teams will be making a glorious return, resuming the season at Walt Disney World Resort at the end of July. But Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon thinks some players are “super interested” in choosing not to play when the season resumes—either due to the still very much ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, or to show Black Lives Matter solidarity amid nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd and other victims of police violence.
According to Yahoo Sports, Brogdon discussed the possibility of players sitting things out on The Ringer podcast Wednesday.
“I’ve talked to a few guys that are super interested in sitting out, possibly,” Brogdon said. “At the end of the day, I was actually talking to Chris Paul... and he said, ‘Man, this is an individual decision that every man has to make for himself.’ I think that’s exactly what it is. I think it depends on your perspective.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed Brogdon’s statement, tweeting that a “faction” of players gathered on a conference call to discuss whether or not the return was a good idea.
According to Wojnarowski, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are “expected to agree on a provision that wouldn’t require players to restart the season, nor subject them to discipline for staying home.”
While that decision is likely based on protecting players from COVID-19 infection, Brogdon made it clear that some players will choose not to play because the game simply isn’t as important and standing up and fighting for racial justice.
“Some guys are going to say, ‘For health reasons, and COVID, and the long-term effects that we don’t understand about COVID, I want to sit out,’” Brogdon said on the podcast. “Other guys are going to say, ‘The black community and my people are going through too much for me to basically be distracted with basketball. I’m not going to prioritize this over the black community, I’m going to sit out.’”
Brogdon said he supports players who refuse to play as a show of support for the movement, but “if you’re going to sit out, you have to have demands.”
“You have to have policies that you want to see changed,” he said. “There has to be something very organized and strategized to go into that … The attention on you and your platform actually grows the farther you stay in Orlando. So that’s definitely a perspective I want guys to think about and understand before they make a decision.”