LA Clippers: Steve Ballmer addresses NBA restart concerns

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer recently talked about some of the issues surrounding the NBA’s restart.

With the NBA seemingly moving full-steam ahead toward their planned July restart, some legitimate concerns have been raised by players and others around the league. LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer recently appeared on Yahoo! Finance’s Influencers with Andy Sewer where he addressed concerns surrounding player health and safety as well as players speaking up about racial injustice in America.

The NBA’s return could give players a larger platform for advocacy.

Ballmer addressed the concerns of players such as Kyrie Irving, who questioned if the restart would take away from players focussing their efforts on the movement for racial justice by saying that participating in the return of NBA action could actually have the opposite effect and increase the visibility of their message.

“The league and the NBA Players Association are also in discussions about how to elevate those to focus on those, and not take our players away from the voices they can have, but to allow them to have maybe even more voice through restarting the season,” Ballmer said.

When the NBA returns after a hiatus that will have lasted a little over four months, all eyes will be on the league. Sports fans who have been forced to watched documentaries and replays of old games to get their fix will finally have live events to watch. This should allow players a major platform to speak out and advocate for racial justice.

The NBA has a great track record of allowing players a platform for advocacy, and the league is reportedly already in talks with the players union on ways to put a spotlight on racial issues when the league returns.

Concerns for health and safety were also addressed.

Ballmer also addressed concerns regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and recent surges in cases around the country. Recently, 16 NBA players have tested positive for the virus and concerns for the health of players, coaches, and other personnel in the Orlando campus are legitimate.

While the Clippers have been leading the push for the NBA to allow friends and family into the “bubble” some players, including the Lakers’ Avery Bradley, have opted out of participating once league play returns.

Ballmer addressed these concerns by speaking about the league’s recently released 113-page protocol about the safety measures in place for the Orlando campus. Some measures the league will put in place include restrictions on player movement and interaction on the campus, and extended testing and quarantine should a player leave the campus without league approval.

“The goal is to be safer than almost any other environment a player could put themselves in,” Ballmer says. “So, safer than the world at large.”

“With lots of testing and other appropriate quarantining and masks, and the league is working hard on that,” he adds. “Hopefully that part works out.”

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