The National Basketball Association Contradicts Itself
By Bob Branco
January 7, 2021
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, sports leagues have to be more creative about how to approach their activities. For the most part, they have done a good job managing the situation. However, I take issue with one professional sports league that seems to be contradicting itself, whether it knows it or not.
The National Basketball Association started its season two months later than usual because the previous season ended much later than normal due to the temporary shut-down of sports. This year, the NBA wants to make an effort to protect its players from the Coronavirus, or so they say. Teams are playing back-to-back games in various cities in their own conferences so that they will spend less time traveling. That sounds reasonable. The more time players remain in a specific location, the less likely that they will be at risk. However, while the NBA went out of its way to schedule back-to-back games in these cities, teams are traveling across the country to the other conference, making stops in various cities to play one game. Think about how much of a contradiction this is, and how the NBA is defeating its purpose. While the Celtics played two consecutive games in Indiana, and two consecutive games in Detroit, the Toronto Raptors, who were forced to play their games in Tampa because Canada is not allowing teams from the United States, went on a road trip to Phoenix, Sacramento, Golden State and Portland. The Raptors are only playing one game in each of those cities, and had to travel thousands of miles.
In my opinion, the NBA did not send the proper message to its players. In fact, they should have scheduled their games the way the National Hockey League is doing it. Each team in the NHL is playing games against just their division, which limits travel dramatically. The message is quite clear. Stay in your own division, no matter how many games you play against a given opponent.
The contradictory behavior by the NBA serves as another example as to why much of society is not taking pandemic regulations very seriously. These regulations are not always consistent, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about sports, school, dining out, or anything else. We have to be much more consistent about pandemic regulations if all of society will properly get the message.