Many NBA and Major League Baseball players are set hit to the field and court in the coming weeks as the country hungers for professional sports leagues to restart.
Naturally, questions have arisen over the cost of players jeopardizing their own health for their respective leagues to resume play amid the COVID-19 pandemic when cases in many parts of the country are increasing.
Twenty-five NBA players have tested positive, prompting concern for athletes who will have to be sequestered at Walt Disney World in the coming days before play is scheduled to start on July 30. Florida reported a record 11,443 new resident cases Saturday and another 9,999 on Sunday. The 22 teams participating are being stationed at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. There will be a limit on access to the complex.
New Orleans Pelicans star and former Duke standout JJ Redick talked to Good Morning America on Monday about his decision to play.
"For each individual guy, I think it is a very personal decision," Redick told GMA's Robin Roberts. "I think also for me and a lot of guys, what basketball represents is normal. What so many Americans want is some return to normal. I know in bringing back sports there's a component of normalcy for the fan. That's important for us as players. We want to go back to our livelihood and the thing we love doing and we want to give the fans something to watch."
"I think there's no right answer and there's no wrong answer," Redick said of each's player's choice. "I think there's truth in everybody's feeling right now. This is an unprecedented time in our country. This is an unprecedented time for nearly every sports league. I think you have to go back to World War II to find this level of disruption for sports leagues."
Redick is in his 14th season in the league with the Pelicans, who include rising star Zion Williamson, also a former Duke phenom.
Players such as Victor Oladipo, Avery Bradley and Davis Bertans are sitting the season out. DeAndre Jordan is also out after testing positive for COVID-19. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Sacramento Kings have shut down their practice facilities after positive tests from employees.
The season will resume at Disney World on July 30 with teams set to travel to Orlando next week. Last week, the league announced it will allow the players to wear messages of social justice on the back of their uniforms in place of their last name.
"This is something we're all experiencing in real-time," Redick said. "We all have to make those decisions. I don't think it's wrong to say we shouldn't play...we're going to try to play. We're trying to make the best of a bad situation," Redick said.
In baseball, 31 players from 19 teams have tested positive for COVID-19. Every team returned for training camp last week. Ryan Zimmerman, David Price and Felix Hernandez are sitting out the season out of concern for their families' health.
MLB rules dictate testing every other day and the league is not allowing high-fives, hugs or fist bumps. Non-playing personnel will be required to wear masks in the dugout and bullpen.
MLB is scheduled to start on July 23 with a 60-game regular season. No official schedule has been released.