The Brooklyn Nets defended their decision to test their athletes for coronavirus after the organization was slammed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for using its resources while the “critically ill” struggle to get tested.
The Nets issued a statement to ESPN late Wednesday, saying that the test, which found that four players including Kevin Durant tested positive for COVID-19, were conducted through a “private company” so as to not “impact access to [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]’s public resources.”
“Using the test results, we were able to take immediate precautions and strictly isolate the players who tested positive,” the statement said. “If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public. Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives.”
De Blasio criticized the Nets on Tuesday after the Nets announced the test results.
“We wish them a speedy recovery. But, 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,” he said in a tweet.
“Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick,” he continued.
NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Tuesday following the mayor’s criticism explaining that the testing was done because of the players’ “close interactions with the general public.”
“Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus,” he said. “Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive.”
In addition to the four Nets, Utah Jazz teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and Detroit Pistons player Christian Wood are the other NBA players who have tested positive.