In the wake of the news that four Nets players have tested positive for coronavirus, critics led by New York mayor Bill DeBlasio have wondered how an NBA team can test all its players during a nationwide test kit shortage.
We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 17, 2020
Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick. https://t.co/7uQlL3zc7Z
On Wednesday, President Trump weighed in on the Nets testing.
NBC's Peter Alexander: "How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others ... can't get them. Do the well-connected go to the front of the line? ... Should that happen?"— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 18, 2020
Trump: "No, I wouldn't say so, but perhaps that's been the story of life."
The Nets have not disclosed how they acquired the test kits, but Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Nets had acquired the kits privately.
Sources: Brooklyn tested the team upon returning from San Francisco and results came back today. Nets paid out of pocket to a private company to conduct tests. One player awoke with some aches today; rest have experienced no symptoms.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 17, 2020
The Nets have not responded to the mayor’s criticism, but the NBA’s chief spokesman Mike Bass did.
Bass told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that there has been worry over player contact with others.
”Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus,” Bass said. “Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive.
”Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”
ESPN also reported the Lakers, the last team the Nets played, will undergo testing in the next few days. Several NBA teams have held off testing, suggesting that they won’t move unless or until their players show symptoms.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “It’s very difficult to find a test in California and many places. So if any of our players do come down sick or any of our employees, we’ll [do] our best to get a test, but there’s definitely frustration that we don’t all have access to them, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The Post reported Thursday and Friday the Knicks were not eligible for testing because none of their players showed symptoms. The Knicks’ medical director, Dr. Lisa Callahan, was following guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health.
The head of the players union, Michele Roberts, said she supported players being tested but doesn’t believe in “wholesale” testing, calling it “nonsense.”
“I’m not at all concerned our players aren’t being given access to the best possible medical attention,” she told USA Today. “But we don’t believe, and the players aren’t asking, for there to be a wholesale testing in the NBA. That’s nonsense. They’re in their 30s and 20s and want to make sure our seniors get the first available attention.”
As for where the Nets acquired the test kits, there’s been speculation that they may have been part of the cache of kits that the Jack Ma Foundation sent to the U.S. Ma and Joe Tsai are co-founders of Alibaba. The Ma Foundation kits didn’t arrive in the U.S. until Monday and were turned over to the CDC. The Nets were tested over the weekend.
- NYC mayor questions NBA players’ ability to get coronavirus tests faster than others - ESPN
- NBPA executive director Michele Roberts: ‘A whole lot of us are going to test positive’ - Mark Medina - USA Today
- Nets’ coronavirus development could affect silent Knicks - Marc Berman - New York Post
- ‘Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick,’ NYC Mayor de Blasio states after four Brooklyn Nets found positive for coronavirus - Shant Shahrigian - New York Daily News
- NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Nets getting coronavirus tests: ‘Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick’ - Danny Abriano - SNY
- Four Nets (including star Durant, asymptomatic) test positive for coronavirus; some backlash at seeming privilege - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report