Major League Baseball is nearing the point of being in a shambles. The NFL's restart is going to be a slow, laborious process, and recent reports of positive COVID-19 tests are not exactly encouraging.
Thus, it seems like the NHL and NBA hold the most optimism for a successful restart. However, several NBA figures, most notably Kyrie Irving, took exception to the idea of players returning to action. Though coronavirus was originally the predominant factor that would prevent an NBA return, the protests that have sprung up throughout the nation in support of racial justice, police reform and much more have been a focal point in the arguments against a return to play.
NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady is on board with Kyrie Irving, Lou Williams, Dwight Howard and the other stars who aren't looking to get back on the court in the near future.
"It would be a tough question," McGrady said on ESPN's "The Jump", appearing alongside Rachel Nichols and Kendrick Perkins. "Me, I would vote not to play and it's an accumulation of me wanting radical change with everything that's going on in the country, but let's not forget there are still people dying from this coronavirus.
"I've got a buddy of my brother in New York, in Harlem, (who has) lost 16 people due to this coronavirus, so we can't forget about that, along with everything else that's going on. Me? I would not play."
New York, as McGrady mentioned, has been one of the hardest-hit areas throughout the whole pandemic. However, after officially pulling the trigger on phase three of reopening, Florida has arguably become an area of more concern.
Coincidentally, Florida is also the state of NBA's planned return. And though Disney World is the manifestation of all things magical and happy in this world, the outlook for it's home of Orlando is similarly bleak.
There's obviously a difference between the entire city of Orlando and the isolated environment that would host the resumed NBA season, but there's no guarantee that Disney World will act as a complete barrier to the outside world. In fact, it's nearly impossible that that will be the case, considering some components of the plan to hold the season throughout Disney's Wide World of Sports complexes. As Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports notes, Disney support staff won't be subject to the same rules and restrictions as the NBA players, which means "they are free to go in and out of campus" for the time being.
It also goes without saying that players can contract a case of the virus very easily. No interaction comes without risk. Recently, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has been in the spotlight for his surprising weight loss, but he additionally was rumored to have been exposed to coronavirus.
As far as the protests go, McGrady understands the players' concerns about the game's return taking away from the much more important issue at hand, here, which is the correcting and reform of our nation's deep-rooted racism, police brutality, social injustice, and more.
"I get both sides where... you can do both," McGrady said. "You can play and you can also bring awareness when you're playing, and I also get that you have a distraction from the protestors wanting to watch the game of basketball, leaving what they're doing out in the streets protesting to come home and watch a game. I get what Lou Williams is saying."
Williams responded to a comment on his Instagram questioning how sports would impact the quest for racial equality through protests.
"...We are fighting for a radical change," Williams said. "Sports has been a healing factor, there we agree. In this climate... it's a distraction.... You're dying to get back in the house and drink a beer and watch us hoop (as) opposed to being outside fighting for your equality."
Kyrie Irving drew praise for thinking similarly and calling for a boycott of sorts, and Dwight Howard concurred.
It seems as though McGrady is on the same wavelength, considering the combination of factors that would seem to make the return to action somewhat trivial in our current situation.