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Adam Silver Responds To De Blasio Over NBA Coronavirus Testing Criticism

WFAN Radio New York logo WFAN Radio New York 3/19/2020 Alex Greenberg
Adam Silver holding a sign © Provided by WFAN Radio New York The NBA has taken some criticism from politicians and the public over the COVID-19 testing that has been available to some players.

Entire teams have been tested for the coronavirus at a time when the tests are not yet widely available to the American public. The Utah Jazz had all been tested after Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive, and then the Brooklyn Nets were all tested after Kevin Durant was found to have contracted the virus.

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio took issue with the disproportionate amount of testing for the athletes, and commissioner Adam Silver fired back on ESPN on Wednesday night.

"It's unfortunate we're at this point in society where it's triage when it comes to testing, which is a fundamental issue obviously as there are insufficient tests," Silver said. "I'd only say in the case of the NBA, we've been following the recommendations of public health officials."

Adam Silver wearing a suit and tie and holding a sign: David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/Sipa USA © Provided by WFAN Radio New York David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/Sipa USA

De Blasio had complained Tuesday, saying "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. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick."

There is a drastic shortage of coronavirus tests available in the United States after the federal government was late to start preparation for this pandemic that is now set to overwhelm American hospitals. South Korea, which has had success fighting the outbreak, has already tested over 230,000 people. The United States has only tested around 41,000 people.

The NBA suspended its season March 11 after Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to Durant, three other Nets players are confirmed to have the virus, as does Gobert's teammate Donovan Mitchell and Pistons power forward Christian Wood.

Silver also mentioned that he thinks the NBA's action helped encourage young people to start taking this threat seriously.

"I understand there are many sides to these issues, but I also think that by virtue of an NBA player being tested and the kind of attention it brought, my sense was especially among young people in the United States, people were not taking these protocols all that seriously until the NBA did what it did."

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