Heat’s Jae Crowder sums up feelings of a lot of players: He wants to play, but safety comes first

Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
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There is lockdown fatigue setting in across the nation. People eagerly want to takes steps toward a return to normal, even if they understand that “normal” itself is a long way off. However, people also insist those steps be safe.

That’s where Miami’s Jae Crowder is on an NBA return, and his attitude reflects a lot of players around the league.

Here is what Crowder told Richard Jefferson on a SportsCenter Instagram Live session (hat tip Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel).

“I don’t want to feel like we have to rush because people are at home, not doing nothing, they just want to watch us play basketball and watch us work…

“I just want to be safe. Obviously, I miss the game. We all miss the game. We love the work. But I want to be safe, I don’t want to feel like it’s rushed…. Even though we’re missing out on a lot of money, from the league standpoint, from everybody taking pay cuts and things like that, I want everybody to be safe…

“We have families we have to come back to, you have to realize that. A lot of guys have kids. You have to worry about that. You have to put that into perspective. I’m in for coming back with the season, as long as we have a few bulletin points from our players’ standpoint to get down with the league.”

The debate the NBA and its players are having right now — the one Crowder talks about — is the same one society is having as a whole: How much risk is acceptable?

There is no way to make a 100% safe place for the NBA to resume play, and the draconian steps it would take to make things anywhere near that percentage would not sit well with players. It’s about what is an acceptable level of risk for the reward, and that is a personal decision. It’s not the same for every person, every player, every team. Yet the league and its players need to come to a consensus.

Crowder reminds people that for players, this decision is about more than just pay and returning to work. It’s bigger than that, it’s also about their health and safety. It’s not a simple equation.

It’s just one the league has to figure out in the coming weeks.