76ers guard Shake Milton said, “I don’t really think we should be playing.” He’ll also presumably play for Philadelphia in the NBA’s resumption at Disney World.
That’s not as hypocritical as it sounds at first. Milton is concerned about basketball overshadowing the current movement for racial justice (a concern also voiced by Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard). But players collectively decided to continue the season. NBA games will proceed, with or without Milton. At that point, his desire for collective action was eliminated. He had to make a personal choice and decided to play.
His 76ers teammate, Joel Embiid, has a much more confusing stance.
Embiid, via Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
I hated the idea,” Embiid said. “I feel like with everything that has been going on, it’s unfortunate what’s been going on in the world. Obviously people look at it in a different way. There might be some other reasons behind everything going on. To me, that part never mattered. To me, all I want is to stay healthy and stay safe, keep the people around me safe. I want to make sure I’m able to live for a long time and not have any sort of consequences in the future from this if I were to be in a situation where I was getting the virus.
Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the idea. But then again, I’m going to do my job. I’m not going to let the city down. I’m going to represent my city — that’s what I’ve always done — my family, my teammates. The mindset doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter the fact that I don’t like that idea and I still don’t believe in it. I don’t think it’s going to be safe enough.”
“Because I know I’m going to do the right things, I know I don’t ever do anything, I only play video games, I’m always home — I don’t do anything. But then again, I don’t trust those other guys to do the same. But, like I said, I’ve gotta do my job.
I don’t understand this. If Embiid doesn’t think the bubble is “going to be safe enough,” why go?
Of course, the bubble won’t be perfectly safe. Nothing is perfectly safe, and many normal activities are more dangerous amid the coronavirus pandemic. Damian Lillard expressed similar distrust of other players follow the protocols.
But each player must make his own judgment about “safe enough.”
There are reasons to play – money (individually and collectively), a chance to win, representing those important to you. Those must be weighed against the risks. Embiid did that and seemingly decided to play.
Is he having second thoughts? Did he just not choose words carefully enough while discussing his very-legitimate concerns?
I’d like to hear more about what Embiid means.