NBA commissioner defends league against criticism over COVID-19 testing

Adam Silver responded to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's criticism of NBA players receiving tests

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 29: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver holds a press conference to discuss Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling at the Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2014 in New York City. Silver announced that Sterling will be banned from the NBA for life (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

For the first time since suspending the season NBA, commissioner Adam Silver appeared on SportsCenter Wednesday night where he responded to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s criticism of NBA players receiving tests.

On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets announced four of their players, including Kevin Durant, tested positive for COVID-19, prompting a Twitter response from de Blasio. He wished them a speedy recovery but also lashed out at the idea of an entire roster of basketball players getting tested.

“We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested,” de Blasio wrote online. “Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

READ MORE: Kevin Durant among 4 Nets players to test positive for coronavirus

READ MORE: Rudy Gobert apologizes for being ‘careless’ before coronavirus diagnosis

During his interview with ESPN‘s Rachel Nichols, Silver expressed testing to NBA players comes as the result of advice from medical professionals.

“I, of course, understand point in that it’s unfortunate we’re at this position as a society where it’s triage when it comes to testing,” Silver said.

“And so the fundamental issue is obviously there are insufficient tests. I’d only say in the case of the NBA, we’ve been following the recommendations of public health officials.”

The season was suspended after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive ahead of a matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Silver detailed the test was administered by the recommendation of Oklahoma officials.

READ MORE: NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus

“The Utah Jazz did not ask to be tested. The Oklahoma public health official there on the spot not only required that they be tested, but they weren’t allowed to leave their locker room, which was for at least four hours after the game where they had to stay, masks on, in the locker room. They couldn’t leave until health authorities had tested them. So that was our first case,” Silver added.

During his interview, Silver also expressed he is not ready to believe this season will be lost. However, he does not know how it will proceed when it returns.

In the interim, Silver is considering a charity competition that will give fans at home something to watch.

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