Since leagues began formalizing plans to return under heavy restrictions due to COVID-19, we have seen numerous athletes opt out of their season restarts across all sports in recent months. What we had not seen is someone’s medical opt-out getting rejected by a league.
That is until now.
Reigning WNBA MVP and Champion Elena Delle Donne recently submitted a request to be medically excused from the WNBA restart after receiving information from her personal doctor that her chronic Lyme’s disease puts her at a higher risk of COVID-19 symptoms and effects.
That request was denied by the WNBA’s independent panel of doctors, forcing Delle Donne to either play or forego her salary to sit out. It’s a topic that both Paul Pierce and Rachel Nichols were passionate about on The Jump.
“First of all, the first concern should be the health and wellness of the players,” The Truth said. “Yeah, she’s one of the faces of the league, we all know that, but come on, she’s having her own personal doctors telling her she’s at a high risk of catching COVID. That right there should be enough… So, if she’s at a high risk of her health and well-being, then I don’t think she should attend.”
On the subject of player and staff safety, leagues all across the world have forced their players to quarantine themselves to prevent catching and spreading of COVID-19. In the NBA, Sacramento’s Richaun Holmes was recently forced to re-enter the quarantine after leaving the bubble to pick up a food delivery. This risky subject was also discussed by the Truth and other analysts this week on The Jump.
“I’m glad this happening now, so players can see that this is not a game. Somebody has to be made an example of for everyone to take this seriously because you know how players are; sometime they’ll stretch the rules, bend the rules, and at times break them like in this case… You would hate to see, come playoff time, a key player doing something as small as grab some food outside the hotel and be put under protocol during an important part in the playoffs.”
Watch these conversations and other discussions regarding lineup changes below, and watch The Jump weekdays at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.