NBA players who opt not to play when the league resumes its 2019-20 season in Orlando next month won’t face any disciplinary action, according to a report.
In a memo distributed on Tuesday, the National Basketball Players Association informed players that they have until June 24 to notify their teams, The Athletic reported. Players who decide not to participate won’t face fines or suspensions.
“It is critical that every player understand that he has the right to choose not to return to play,” the memo said.
Players who choose not to play will have their pay reduced by 1/92.6 for each game missed. The reductions in pay are capped at 14 games.
The NBA will resume play on July 30 with a 22-team format in a campus-like environment at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The league suspended its season in mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to safely hold games.
The NBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The memo circulated as some prominent players, including Brooklyn Nets star and NBPA vice president Kyrie Irving, questioned whether play should resume. Irving led a conference call with nearly 100 players last Friday night.
During the call, several players said they were considering opting out of the comeback plan to focus on social justice work amid nationwide protests against racial injustice, ESPN reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Others expressed concern about the NBA’s plan to resume play during the pandemic.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said it is understandable that some players would have reservations given the ongoing pandemic and social unrest. He expressed confidence that the league would be able to work through the issues.
“in terms of social justice issues, it'll be an opportunity for NBA players in the greater community to draw attention to the issues because the world's attention will be on the NBA in Orlando if we're able to pull this off,” Silver said on ESPN’s “The Return to Sports” special.