NYC mayor calls out the NBA: “Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

NYC mayor calls out the NBA: “Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

Kevin Durant confirmed he has COVID-19 after the entire Nets team was tested upon returning from San Francisco. Reports say the Lakers will now test their entire team as well, adding them to the list with the Jazz and OKC organizations getting everybody tested. This raised a question some asked the moment Oklahoma used 60% of its daily testing ability on the Jazz after Rudy Gobert tested positive – if tests are so difficult to get all over the USA, how did NBA teams get in front of the line??

It’s no secret the Federal Government wasn’t prepared and did not answer adequately to the COVID-19 epidemic. The nation’s chief epidemiologist, dr. Anthony Fauci said the system so far has been a failure, mainly referring to testing capabilities around the country. Yet, the NBA has managed to test anyone it needs to immediately. After news about the Nets getting tested was made public, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio called out the NBA.

The NBA League Office had teams prepare protocols before Gobert tested positive and one of the things every team had to ensure was testing capabilities. After de Blasio’s tweet, Woj and Stein tweeted that teams organized testing in private facilities and paid out of pocket for it, not to burden the public health system. 

The explanation still doesn’t cover the first team tested; Jazz players and staff were tested within Oklahoma’s public testing system and we are yet to find out how did they get in front of the line. This is just a reminder that there are two lanes to healthcare in the United States – public waiting lines or private fast track. Most countries integrate private testing possibilities with their public system in times of crisis like these – the private facilities charge their fee which the national healthcare system covers, but you can’t buy your way to the front of the line; a doctor has to say you are a priority case. There’s work to be done in the US.

Sick burns aside, which system you believe is best is a political question, there are many places you can debate that issue (hopefully get some data from legitimate sources before you do.) The NBA has done a lot and is doing a lot to raise awareness and help in fighting the spread of COVID-19. Most teams announced they will cover hourly worker’s wages for the rest of the month, and support local businesses and partners in their communities. Once again, we can say we are fans of the best professional sports league with a great commissioner. 

But don’t forget, that’s grading on a curve against the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NCAA. The NBA is still a business and as much as NBA Cares, owners and league officials are on daily calls trying to figure out how to squeeze the maximum number of games possible and save their bottom line. As Steven A. says, it comes down to “the almighty dollar.”