"I don’t support going into Orlando,” Kyrie Irving reportedly told his the 80-plus fellow NBA players on Friday night's league conference call, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. … Something smells a little fishy."
Irving — the NBPA's vice president — was reportedly one of the leading voices on the conference call discussing how best to proceed with the NBA season this year. He, along with a group of other NBA players, is concerned about the threat of coronavirus and potentially overshadowing the work being done by the Black Lives Matter movement that has come in the wake of George Floyd's killing on May 25.
According to the Athletic, Dwight Howard reportedly "stressed to players that playing in Orlando will become a distraction from the issues the country is facing, and that they need to unify and use this moment to create a change."
If the NBA season does not return, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday night that the players are "already losing an estimated $300 million in salary, and terminating the rest of the season would cost another 25% of salary with owners exercising the force majeure provision. ... NBA players would stand to lose $1.2 billion in salary this season."
It's something that CJ McCollum reportedly acknowledged on the conference call, telling his league-mates to be prepared for a financial hit if they do not return.
The NBA will reportedly allow players to sit out for the remainder of the season "with no financial loss, as long as said player has an agreement with his franchise and/or a medical excuse," per The Athletic.