NBA not setting up specific criteria to cancel games, leaving flexibility


Nobody puts the NBA in a corner.

Despite the league sending out a 150+ page protocol to limit coronavirus exposure this season, we know from watching the NFL, MLB, and college sports that players will contract COVID-19 and miss games. Eventually, games will be postponed and canceled. It’s inevitable.

The NBA, however, does not want to be boxed in on when games will be played or called off. That means it’s not going to lay out specific criteria on when it will cancel games, allowing it flexibility depending upon the situation. Baxter Holmes of ESPN has the details.

For instance, teams could have a similar number of positive COVID-19 cases but differing circumstances for the total, such as potential spread in a facility or isolated cases at home, leading to the NBA’s reluctance to create a fixed number that would lead to play being suspended on a given night.

The possibility of any game taking place could first be affected by local or state restrictions, which have been evolving over the course of the pandemic.

Whether or not you think this is a good idea comes down to: Do you trust the NBA league office to make a fair decision?

If you believe the league is largely unbiased but knows every situation is different and will just have to make the best decision it can when problems arise, then you’re likely good with this plan.

If you believe the league would sell out the health of players for money — or you’re a tinfoil hat conspiracy person convinced the league has it out for your team — then you might prefer the comfort of hard-and-fast guidelines.

If the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of one thing, it’s that there are no simple answers to complex problems and that flexibility is a must in life. The NBA is trying to build that in, but it understands it will be up for criticism no matter what decision it ultimately makes.

Like every one of us, the league is just trying to do the best it can in uncertain times — and that requires flexibility.