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Roundtable: Our reactions to the suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season

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Our staff discussed the suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season, both from the league and Wizards ownership perspectives.

NBA G League: Capital City Go-Gos vs Greensboro Swarm
Adam Silver and Ted Leonsis were two of the major decision makers behind the NBA’s moves over the last week.
Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

On Wednesday, our staff reacted to the suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season due to a positive coronavirus test diagnosis from Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was found to have the virus in a test on Thursday.

I wrote many of my own personal reactions throughout Thursday which you can find in our StoryStream. But here’s what our whole team thought in the moments after the suspension was announced.


Albert Lee: Wow. The NBA season is suspended indefinitely. With that, let’s vent or debrief.

What are your thoughts on the league’s handling of it? As well as Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s?

Lyndie Wood: It’s the right decision. If Gobert has the coronavirus, multiple teammates, Jazz staff, opponents and media might too. I am glad the NBA was swift and decisive once the result came in.

(Thankfully, Mitchell is the only Jazz teammate known to have the coronavirus.)

Marcus Atkinson: Definitely praying for Gobert and everyone that has been infected with this virus.

As for my thoughts, I think it is 100% the right decision. There was speculation as to why Ted Leonsis didn’t stop fans from coming to the games earlier today after DC Health’s recommendation, but it looks like the NBA was already contemplating their next move which is probably why he didn’t make a decision at that time.

I think this is much bigger than basketball. We have to think about the safety of players, the fans, the staff and everyone involved with the league. The NBA also paved the way for other professional leagues like the NHL, MLB and XFL among others, and even the NCAA to suspend or cancel upcoming games in the name of safety.

I think having NBA games with no fans is nonsensical, the players can still be a risk to each other especially if they are traveling through airports, buses and other modes of transportation that involve a lot of people going through it. The NBA probably realized that, which is why they didn’t go that route.

Kudos to Commissioner Adam Silver and his staff for the right move.

Sam Rinde: It’s incredible that the NBA made the decision. Think of all the money involved in suspending the whole season. I think it’s the right move though, especially if a player tested positive. Major kudos to the NBA for putting people before profits in this instance. Not many businesses would make that decision.

Alan Jenkins: A suspension of play is 100% the right move. NBA players high five, fist bump, handshake, etc. all the time so who knows how bad this really is? There’s still so much unknown about this virus and the actual number of people who’re carrying it so suspending the season was absolutely the right thing to do.

Yanir Rubinstein: Some insight can be gained from observing what happened with the CBA. The Chinese league (CBA) was suspended in late January and now there are indications that play might resume (perhaps in a shortened/limited format) in the coming weeks. This is of course after the Chinese seemingly successfully contained the outbreak using extreme measures nationwide.

In the United States, such measures have not been applied yet. And it’s probably not possible here, so it is quite unclear if NBA games will resume. And if so when and what format they will take.

Most of all, stay safe everybody!

Kevin Broom: The NBA made the right call in suspending the season, but they seem to have mishandled the decision around Gobert and his testing.

Even with all the coronavirus news, Gobert was checked for the virus only after he tested negative for strep throat, the common flu and an unspecified upper respiratory infection. He played 31 minutes March 9 against Portland, as well as in back-to-back road games last week. And he traveled with the team to Oklahoma City despite having symptoms consistent with coronavirus. Because of referees and the tight NBA schedule, apparently all 30 teams are connected over just the last five days.

There’s a very real possibility that this season is done. The hope is this ends soon and things can get back to something more normal in a few weeks, but right now it’s impossible to know when it’ll be advisable for large public gatherings to resume.

The test will probably be in China. Their regimen of aggressive testing and quarantine seems to have stopped the rate of infection. The next step will be to let people out of their homes. Hopefully the infection rate won’t spike.

Fim Oshin: Second what everyone has said. But I really just want to say that I hope very one stays safe and healthy throughout this time. I care about you guys!


And one last note from Albert

On behalf of our staff, I want to wish you the best as we enter the next few weeks given the coronavirus pandemic. Do what you need to do in order to stay safe.

Unfortunately, I can’t predict how many people will end up getting infected in the DMV. And I can’t predict how many deaths will happen because of it. However, if we all take these precautions, such as:

  • Avoiding close contact with sick people
  • Staying home when you feel sick
  • Washing your hands for 20 seconds after using the bathroom
  • Covering your cough or sneeze, and washing your hands afterwards with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol

For more information on the coronavirus and how to help safeguard yourself, below is the link to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC’s page will help you lower your chances a lot more than just...rolling the dice. That will help our area, our country and the world keep Covid-19 under control.

Thank you, and I hope you have a good weekend.