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Nets defend testing decision, say some players, staff ‘exhibited symptoms’

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Chicago Bulls v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In a new statement regarding its decision to test all of its players for coronavirus, the Nets say they chose to test after “several of our players and staff had exhibited symptoms.”

“If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public,” said the team in a statement.

The testing, which was reportedly conducted Saturday, revealed that four players, including Kevin Durant, tested positive for the virus. The early symptoms of coronavirus often mimic the flu.

In their most recent statement, the Nets also confirmed an ESPN report that the test kits “were sourced by a private company and paid for them ourselves so we wouldn’t impact access to CDC’s public resources.”

The Nets have been criticized, including by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and President Trump who wondered how an NBA team can test all its players during a nationwide test kit shortage.

Here’s the full statement...

As we learned NBA players on other teams had tested positive for COVID-19, we noticed that several of our players and staff had symptoms. Based on this information, and the judgment that all of our players are subject to high exposure due to the close physical nature of basketball, the communal nature of teams and the possibility of an accelerated spread from team to team, our medical experts advised that our players get tested.

We sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to CDC’s public resources. Using the test results, we were able to take immediate precautions and strictly isolate the players who tested positive. If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public. Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives. We believe it is not only the right thing to do for our players and their families, it is the responsible thing to do from a medical and epidemiological standpoint.

A key point in the statement was that the Nets relied on its “medical experts” who agreed with their decision to test.

In fact, Mike Bass, the NBA’s statement to the Times, backed up the Nets position and said Brooklyn was one of several teams who were recommended for aggressive testing.

“Once there were some players who tested positive, because of the unique working conditions of NBA players, team physicians and infectious disease experts ... recommendation was to have eight other full teams tested.”

Bass’ boss, the commissioner, also reacted on ESPN, using the same arguments the Nets made...

Adam Harrington, the Nets director of player development, applauded his organization’s response and criticized the mayor ...

One other team, the Thunder, also underwent testing and found no positive readings. The Lakers, the last team the Nets played, had their tests Wednesday morning and two players tested positive. Late Thursday, the Celtics announced one player tested positive. Marcus Smart revealed he is that player.

Meanwhile, Adam Silver was on ESPN to talk about a possible resumption of play.

“I don’t have a good enough sense for hold long of a period this is going to be,” he said, adding, “we’re going to try by every means we can to play basketball again [this season].” Silver said the league would wait for public heath officials give them the OK to return. When asked to speculate on how the league would handle matters of record such as the MVP, scoring title, etc if the NBA had to cancel its season, Silver said said, “I’m not there yet. Maybe I’m in denial, but I’m just not there yet.”

Finally, Barclays Center announced that its food concessionaire, Levy Restaurants, was donating tons of food to City Harvest...

Barclays Center’s Food and Beverage partner Levy Restaurants donated 10,000 pounds of food from the arena to City Harvest this week. City Harvest is committed to feeding all New Yorkers in need of food, and as the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic becomes a reality, many New Yorkers will be turning to programs like City Harvest to put food on their tables. This donation will help City Harvest feed 10,000 New Yorkers for a day, or more than 3,000 families for a day, and consisted of fresh produce, fresh bakery items, and non-alcoholic beverages.