Report: Group of High-Profile Players Remain Committed to NBA Return, Disagree with Kyrie Irving

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Despite the potential concerns raised by former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, some high-profile NBA players remain focused on getting back on the court to complete the 2019-20 season.

Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports pointed out that a key reason why those NBA players aren’t in agreement with Irving is due to potential labor-management conflicts that could turn out poorly for the players as a whole.

“Several high-profile players have been communicating with others en masse about the financial and practical implications if they don’t play, sources said,” Goodwill wrote. “If there are no more games, the owners can and will likely activate the force majeure clause and re-open the collective bargaining agreement, and the players would have little leverage with the owners because of how the economy has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to issues of safety related to the novel coronavirus, Irving is concerned about playing in the current racial climate that was sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Irving currently serves as one of six vice presidents in the National Basketball Players Association.

Yet, the players opposing Irving also see the resumption of the season as a way to reinforce their support of social justice reforms connected to racial issues.

“League sources told Yahoo Sports that several high-profile players are planning on using the league’s resumption as a platform to be creative in promoting and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, with the eyes of the nation focused on the NBA for an extended period of time,” Goodwill wrote.

One unnamed African-American executive pointed out the platform the players will have, while also noting legitimate family concerns that figure to crop up.

“There’s no bigger platform than playing and being able to get your message out there,” the executive told Yahoo! Sports.

“It’s understandable to have concerns, especially the guys who are parents and may have their kids during the summers because of custody arrangements. I can see players being against some of the restrictions of the bubble.”

NBA action is set to get underway late next month, with Irving’s concerns not expected to win over enough players to halt the league’s return.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.