But coronavirus restrictions work only as well as people follow them. Overly harsh rules backfire amid resistance. And this one doesn’t have much buy-in from players – even with the crackdown.
Ironically, because the NBA’s coronavirus-altered schedule includes series between the same teams, Brooklyn and Miami played again last night (a 98-85 Nets win). Irving said he got Adebayo’s jersey Saturday. Yesterday, Irving gave his to Adebayo.
Irving quickly hugged Adebayo – who had just shared a longer embrace with Kevin Durant – while stuffing his jersey into the Heat star’s hands.
The no-hugging rule ranks among the NBA’s silliest protocols. Players just breathed heavily near each other while playing basketball maskless. How much risk do short post-game interactions add? Will the new protocol just push players to hold their postgame greetings in out-of-sight back but less-ventilated back hallways (Irving got Adebayo’s jersey somewhere Saturday)? The more-sensible rule would’ve been requiring players to wear masks when embracing on the court after games, as Adebayo did here.
Irving has less issue trampling the NBA’s coronavirus protocols. But it’s far from just him with postgame hugs.
The NBA ought to stick to the restrictions that really matter, not further burden players with nonsense.