In response to a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 among numerous teams, the NBA has instituted a variety of policies, tightening restrictions on what players can and cannot do during games. Thunder guard George Hill expressed frustration over these new policies on Tuesday and questioned the validity of playing the season at all following a 112-102 loss to the Spurs.
"I'm a grown man, so I'm gonna do what I wanna do," Hill said, per the Oklahoman. "If I wanna go see my family, I'm gonna go see my family. They can't tell me I have to stay in the room 24/7. If it's that serious then maybe we shouldn't be playing. It's life. No one's gonna be able to just cancel their whole life for this game."
One of the many changes includes a mandate where players and staff have to quarantine at home or in their hotel rooms when not at practice or the game itself until further notice. On the road, players can't leave the team hotel, nor can guests come over. The league has also asked players to stop the postgame extended handshakes, hugs and conversations.
As Hill noted, there is one glaring period of the players' lives that the league is ignoring social distancing entirely for: the game itself.
"I just don't understand some of the rules as far as we can sweat 48 minutes with the guy next to us and the team next to us, but we can't talk to him after the game," Hill said. "It makes no sense."
Some regions of the United States would seem to agree with what the 34-year-old has said. In Santa Clara County, Calif., for example, contact sports are currently banned. The San Francisco 49ers had to play in Arizona for the final games of their season. In Ontario, Canada, a local sports minister has called for bodychecking to be banned.
Such measures were put in place because of the belief that close-contact sports are not safe during a global pandemic. As the past week has shown in the NBA, the policies in place were not enough. As recent as Wednesday morning, the NBA had to postpone the night's Hawks vs. Suns game.