The NBA announces coronavirus rates among players weekly.
But they aren’t alone in traveling the country amid this pandemic then being on the court maskless during games.
Referees, with reduced travel but more commercial flights, are also dealing with coronavirus.
Ten NBA referees, including veteran officials typically assigned to the NBA Finals, are sidelined because of issues related to COVID-19 and, in one case, an injury, a league official told ESPN.
That figure represents the highest of its kind to date in a season during which 24 referees have missed at least one game because of health and safety protocols, a league spokesman told ESPN.
Most of the absences have been tied to contact tracing, according to the spokesperson, who added that the league expects all 10 of the referees currently sidelined to be available for the playoffs, which start in less than a month.
Hopefully, these referees will recover swiftly. As vaccine rates increase, coronavirus concerns – including contact tracing – should decrease.
Until then, the NBA clearly has an issue. Holmes has more information about how the league is handling this referee shortage – especially as the playoffs approach.
But two things remain true, regardless of the underlying facts:
The NBA will defend its officials. Everyone else will complain about the refs.