Thu, 06 Aug 2020

Players kneel as NBA restarts in Florida 'bubble'

31 Jul 2020, 16:42 GMT+10


While the NBA has a long-standing rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem before games, league commissioner Adam Silver said on Thursday no players would be sanctioned.

"I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem," Silver said.

Thursday's games marked a resumption of regular season play to determine the final line-up for the NBA playoffs, which start on 17 August.

The tightly-controlled "bubble" setting in Orlando is designed to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19 halting play once more.

Florida has emerged as one of the worst-hit Covid-19 hotspots in the United States, with cases and fatalities skyrocketing in recent weeks.

Since Gobert's positive case brought the league to a standstill, the US death toll from Covid-19 has soared from just 40 to more than 150 000.

NBA officials however are confident that the decision to base teams inside a single secure location will allow them to play the remainder of the season in safety.

The latest round of 344 tests of players conducted since 20 July returned zero positive cases.

Players are required to undergo regular Covid-19 testing and the ability to enter and exit the secure zone is subject to stringent regulations.

Team and NBA personnel are staying in three hotels dotted throughout the resort, with a small number of media, sponsors and inactive players also allowed in.

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