Below is a full translation of Omri Casspi’s official statement to the Basketball Winner League Administration
I will begin as I did in our private meeting with the League and the Health Ministry – it’s important to speak properly to one another because at the end of the day we all love, enjoy and make a living from our profession.
I am speaking to you from my place as Israel National Team Captain, Maccabi Tel Aviv that my opinion and the opinion of some of the players will be taken in a serious manner just as we respect the league and our profession.
I have spoken in various forums as to how important it is to return for many different reasons. It’s important to separate returning to business with masks and social distancing etc… than returning athletes who take part on sports with contact on a daily basis.
The players are here to play basketball. We understand the situation and are prepared to do whatever it takes for the game we all love, the fans and country that needs it.
There are two acute issues that I believe are important to find a solution to in order for us to return to play in the safest manner under the circumstances with the risk that is involved:
1) To end the quarantine for the league’s players for the upcoming two months – This exaggerated request by the league administration that players have to be in complete quarantine without the ability to go out and buy necessities, medication from the pharmacy or to walk their dog just outside of their home (This is a harsher than the country’s quarantine when the virus was spreading at its peak) is inhumane on every level. In addition, the professional and medical staff that are with the team aren’t required to hold by the same quarantine regulations that we are as mentioned above, even though they are with the players day in and day out. Athletes are under extreme pressure and duress and to expect them to be in full quarantine, especially today when mental health is at the forefront of society, this is a scandalous demand.
2) The responsibility of the league to perform regular tests for all of the players and staff on a weekly basis – is an accepted practice in today’s sports world. The demand to go through two full months without tests is absurd, this not only places the players at risk but also their families and those who are close to them.
* I’ve heard the claim (That I hope is incorrect) that the teams have said should a player feel that the conditions are unsuitable, he can leave and that they will bring another player in his place – this reminds me of a dark regime and I hope that we will not have to go to those places.
I don’t know what the league or what the players will decide during the upcoming week, but there is a serious concern for the players and the families who are at extreme risk. I hope that the league would treat this with serious consideration so that everyone would feel comfortable with returning to the courts very soon.