Hanging over the NBA right now is the fact that players might not get paychecks. The league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a section on force majeure events that would, essentially, lead to players not getting compensated, and as you can guess, pandemics are one such event that is specified. It was recently reported that the Players Association has informed players about this doomsday provision, although the indication was that was done so players can understand that exists and not because their contracts are in danger.
Still, as the league’s COVID-19 suspension goes on, these sorts of questions will pop up. For Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, all of this comes down to a simple question: Would owners be willing to tank the remainder of the season by not paying their players?
Dinwiddie sat down with Alex Shultz of GQ and explained that if this provision was triggered, it would make the end of the season, because no player would have any interest in playing again if this went down.
“Here’s the problem with the doomsday provision,” Dinwiddie said. “Let’s say they run the numbers and determine they can save x amount of dollars by instituting the force majeure, they stop paying players, let insurance cover certain things, yada yada yada. If you do that, the players aren’t coming back this season. You’re telling me you want me to come back in two weeks but you’re not going to pay me? That doesn’t work in any type of business. It seems like the goal is to salvage the season in some form or fashion, which means you’re going to have to keep paying us, so we show up when you want us to show up.”
Dinwiddie gets into a lot of stuff in the interview, including excoriating the American healthcare system for not making coronavirus tests free and the difference between millionaires and billionaires and their ability to provide long-term assistance, but as the league’s hiatus goes on, the question of paychecks for players will eventually come into the spotlight. The hope, of course, is that it does not, but in the event it does, and players don’t get paid, Dinwiddie foresees an abrupt end to the 2019-20 campaign.