As the Washington Wizards get prepared to head down to Orlando for the resuming of the 2019-20 season, a few weeks ago Davis Bertans made the decision to forgo the last eight games and a potential playoff run with the Wizards in the Orlando Bubble for a chance to prepare for his upcoming free agency. Certainly there were a lot of reactions to Bertans’ decision including a very interesting exchange with the Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier
If you don’t care about the risks of playing in Orlando, then also next time tag me with your opinion about me!— Dāvis Bertāns (@DBertans_42) June 23, 2020
From the NBA to the MLB, we are seeing players who are making similar decisions to what Bertans has made. As fans, we should not look at these decisions in a vacuum. We are in unprecedented times. For a player like Bertans, who prior to the season’s shutdown would easily be viewed as a sought-after free agent who would likely get a big multi-year deal, the decision is clear. There is little to gain for Bertans and everything to lose.
What if Bertans did decide to play in the bubble? Is he going to do something that is going to earn him more money? Are the odds of the Wizards getting into the playoffs and making a run significant? Since the answer to these last two questions are more than likely not, then does it make sense to risk his health or risk injury to go down? I will make the answer easy for you: no.
Yes, Bertans’ decision is disappointing, but it is also a wise one. If Bertans were to suffer some type of long term complication, whether from COVID-19 or a significant playing injury, he is not going to be gifted extra money as sympathy. He is going to get his fair market value regardless.
For him, the plan is simple: Stay safe, protect your future and give yourself an opportunity to make the kind of money that most people would dream of making in a lifetime. At the age of 27, this is an optimal time for Bertans to get perhaps the biggest contract that he will likely receive in his career so it’s understandable why he is taking such a cautious approach.
Bertans’ decision is not selfish, but rather it is a business one, in much the same way these major professional sports leagues have decided to push forward with re-starting their leagues. Certainly they have interest in generating revenue to keep their business afloat, but players still have to think about the danger that exist to go play for themselves, their families and the people that they may come in contact with.
Just on Monday, it was reported that Atlanta Braves slugger Freddie Freeman talked to Nick Markakis and Markakis became convinced to not participate in the upcoming MLB Season, among other reasons, because of the effects of Freeman’s symptoms after contracting the coronavirus.
Then Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley backed out of the NBA season’s continuation reportedly because of the potential of not being able to have his oldest child able to come to the NBA’s bubble due to an underlying health condition. There are a lot of factors here, some of which may not be publicly known for each of the players that decides to opt-out.
Simply put, there is so much that is unknown right now. With players testing positive for COVID-19 on what is seemingly a weekly basis, there is nothing wrong with waiting this out and seeing how to prepare for life beyond this season. We as fans need to be patient and realize that nothing is clear at this point. It has certainly been a fun ride with Bertans being a Wizard this season, but there are things much bigger than basketball happening now and we will have to accept that.