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WNBA and player unions seek safe returns

the6man May 25

WNBPA executive directors Terri Jackson, Layshia Clarendon, Nneka Ogwumike, WNBA commissioners Cathy Engelbert and Chiney Ogwumike after the league and union announced the new CBA on January 14. WNBA photos.

More than a week has passed since the start of the season. As the status of the coronavirus pandemic changes every day, the WNBA is weighing a choice to start later.

However, no matter what date, no matter what the venue situation may choose to part or even the entire season, it is certain that the National Basketball Association of Women and their athletes will put safety first.

WNBPA executive director Terri Jackson said the six-member player executive committee wanted to ensure that athletes were protected before the game resumed.

Jackson said: “Let us ensure that it is in place, not only physical health, but also mental health and social health.” “The executive committee and the player representative board are listening to each other and raising all these questions and suggestions.”

Jackson said that this includes President Nneka Ogwumike, First Vice President Layshia Clarendon, Vice President Chiney Ogwumike, Sue. Boards including Sue Bird and Elena Delle Donne and Secretary Elizabeth Williams maintain contact with the boards they represent.

“They have a lot of information,” Jackson said. “They understand that players want to play, but players want to be safe. They want to see how to do this by properly positioning the league and the team.”

Jackson said that although all professional sports leagues are struggling to recover from the season or start problems, WNBA players may be more aware of the virus containment problem.

She said: “These conversations are really helpful because these players have experienced similar (isolated) situations when they go abroad and leave their families.” “These situations are very similar to what everyone is experiencing now, which can help inform the league . “

Athletes who competed in China and South Korea in the winter discovered the respiratory diseases very early and eventually spread to the whole world. A few weeks after the WNBA and WNBA reached a groundbreaking new Collective Bargaining Agreement in mid-January, COVID-19 was held in these two Asian countries.

Jackson said: “After negotiations, we are very happy as a union, and we are all looking forward to the 2020 season.” “But we started to learn from overseas people that they have no audience when playing games.

Shortly thereafter, the Chinese and South Korean leagues were closed.

Jackson and the first WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert established good relations during the CBA negotiations, and they continued to communicate as the coronavirus spread to Europe, North America and other continents. The league announced on April 3 that it will postpone training camp and this season.

Jackson (Jackson) requires players to read the contract carefully to fully understand the off-court obligations, and advises them to use the rest time wisely.

She said: “I draw them to note that the contract stipulates that you want to participate in training camp or first practice, and maintain a good state of the game, and must be prepared to participate in practice and competition.”

“Additional responsibilities include becoming a spokesperson for you and your alliance, and responding to media requests.”

Athletes remember the order and have been looking for places to exercise and do some basketball practice under full-time guidance nationwide. They also conducted dozens of interviews and participated in workouts on Instagram, were interviewed through the Zoom conference call, and produced video sharing encouragement and information to stay safe. Nneka Ogwumike led a campaign to publicly thank medical workers.

Jackson was very happy.

She said: “No one has played a game, but you are working hard.” “You are dealing with all the life and appearances of IG at home, interviews. This is the most active, most engaged and most engaged since WNBA players have long been in the offseason. The most obvious performance. And this is when we really need it. “

At the same time, Engelbert is considering whether to place all games in one region or 12 regions, and other options. MGM Resorts in Las Vegas provides a quarantine zone for the WNBA and NBA, where games can be played. Rumor has it that Walt Disney World in Florida is at the top of the NBA list in a single league venue, and the amusement park says the WNBA is also very popular.

Player agent Mike Cound favors putting all games in one place, because this is the safest solution.

Cound, President of Cound Group, said: “It doesn’t make sense to send 12 teams to 12 different locations for training camps and all related content.” “But I’m not saying that this won’t happen. If the test is super efficient, then the situation It will be different. However, for each possible solution, you will have 50 questions about possible problems. I guarantee you will not be perfect. “

Boris Lelchitski, the founder of SIG Sports, said that in the absence of too many uncertainties, it is difficult to make a plan, and the United States is reopening at different rates.

He said: “It will depend on the many states that have reopened to some extent, and then what will happen after that.” “We don’t yet know what that is.”

If the WNBA does choose some seasons, Lelchitski has a lot of security risks, depending on the league’s salary cap, and a maximum of 12 players are allowed on the roster.

“Suppose you have several people with sprained ankles, and-God forbids-one or two other tests are positive (for coronavirus), what should you do?” Lechsky said. “How do you bring in others? How quickly can you bring the submarine into that bubble through isolation measures? What then? How many positive tests do they need to pass to join the group?”

“There are many problems.”

Lechsky said he was not alone.

He said: “Even if I talk about the game now, I know some of my clients are really uncomfortable.” “They are very worried.”

“Imagine during the game that someone from another team is coughing or sneezing, or anything else. This is a contact sport and you are defending someone who is not in good health. It may be a coronavirus or it may be A simple cold. But in the game, when a player says: “I don’t want to defend that player, what happens. “You can’t wear a mask to play this sport, it’s impossible.

Jackson said that she and Engelbert continued to talk every day.

Jackson said: “Our vision four months ago is different from the vision four weeks ago, which is different from the vision four days ago, and today it is different.” “We are ‘watching the data, not the date, ‘Cathie said.’

“What impressed me is that the league hopes this is a very good experience for the players. They want to hear how they want to live.”

The speed of the coronavirus pandemic will also affect overseas games, and most WNBA players will go there to earn more income in the winter. South Korea and Australia have closed the league against foreign players in 2020-2021. American players are signing with leagues in other countries, but Lechsky said there is no guarantee.

He said: “Any contract currently signed is hypothetical, because we are only six months away from the overseas season, and no one knows what will happen.” “The national league may happen, especially in small countries, because you can take the Bus travel. “

“But if an alliance is crossing borders to other countries as frequently as other alliances, and that country has its own set of rules and regulations … that may not work.”

The CLC provides salary guarantees to free agents, which means that if overseas games are stopped or restricted, many young players may have to find other jobs next winter.

He said: “It’s really complicated.” “All of us have different ideas, but no one knows. This virus will determine what happens.”

Currently, WNBA and WNBPA will monitor the pandemic and whether it is safe to start a new season.

Jackson said: “The league continues to state that it is our goal to play some games this year, so perseverance is our goal.”

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