Cuban will bring Mavericks back under ‘White House’ testing rules
NBA players deserve same level of care as U.S. president, Dallas owner says
Mark Cuban thinks the NBA can and should resume its 2019-20 season, but he won’t so much as reopen the practice facility for his Dallas Mavericks until he feels it’s safe to do so.
And when would that be? When Cuban can “use the White House protocol.”
The Mavs’ owner was referring to the fact that White House staffers who frequently interact with President Donald Trump are being tested daily for the novel coronavirus.
“The way the White House protects the president and vice-president is the way that I want to protect our players and employees,” Cuban told the Athletic on Tuesday.
“We’ll just try to just copy what they do as a means of knowing when the time is right,” he added. “... They have access to the best science, the best information, and so it just makes sense to me that we just copy them.”
Cuban’s comments echoed remarks he made on CNBC the day before, when he said of businesses reopening amid the pandemic, “Effectively, we’re asking ourselves who can we trust with our lives, and we’re not getting any type of response back. So if we’re not getting a solid response, if we’re not hearing a solid plan, if we’re not getting specific guidelines for health care, then the best we can do is emulate what has to be the highest level of care available, which is the White House.”
Last month, the billionaire was among a group of leaders selected by Trump to serve on a panel to advise the White House about reopening an economy hit hard by coronavirus, despite the fact that he’s been openly critical of the president and the response to the pandemic.
“I’m ready to help my country in any way I can,” he told Dallasbasketball.com when appointed.
Facing high unemployment figures and, in some cases, civil unrest, many states are taking steps to reopen economies largely shuttered in March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, there may be danger in that approach of worsening the pandemic, as the U.S. still lags behind a number of countries in per capita testing and continues to have by far the most confirmed cases in the world.
Despite the lifting in late April of stay-at-home order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Cuban asserted earlier this month that it was “just not worth it” to him to bring his team back.
“I just don’t think the risk is worth the reward,” he said at the time.
On Monday, Cuban told CNBC, “We have to get to that point, where the White House standard becomes the national standard, in order for consumers to feel safe going out, in order for employers to feel completely safe bringing people back to work.” He added, “And I think we can get there, I just don’t know when.”
Asked by the Athletic whether he was “optimistic” that there will be sufficient testing available in one to two months, he replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
A conference call on Tuesday involving NBA commissioner Adam Silver and team owners and executives left participants optimistic that the season will resume, according to ESPN. A major topic on the call was the NBA’S efforts to minimize health risks, but Silver reportedly said that if a very small number of positive tests would “shut us down, we probably shouldn’t go down this path.”
In a conference call on Monday involving some of the biggest stars in the NBA, including Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Curry, players reportedly agreed they wanted to resume the season if proper safety protocols were in place. Yahoo Sports cited sources in also reporting the majority of players on teams that were effectively eliminated from post-season contention when the NBA suspended play in March would prefer that only playoff teams return to action.
Cuban said Tuesday on ESPN that “the biggest challenge” for the NBA, if and when it resumes play, will be the ability of teammates to monitor each other to make sure no one engages in reckless behaviour. He said his league has an advantage in that regard over baseball and football, which feature much bigger rosters.
“How players relate to each other and support each other is going to be critical to making it work,” Cuban said.
To those who feel the league should “scrap the season,” as Shaquille O’neal declared recently, the Mavericks owner had an opposing point of view.
“Guys want to play, there’s still a season to be finished out,” Cuban said. “I still think we can play a few games, then go into the playoffs and crown a champion. Let’s go, let’s play. The country needs it, too, man. We need something to cheer for, we need something to get excited about.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says players will have to monitor each other to make sure no one engages in reckless behaviour if the NBA resumes play.