NBA to Suspend Drug Tests Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
NBA Professional athletes typically undergo mandatory drug tests during the season, but the NBA season has been suspended due to the novel coronavirus crisis, and there will be no more drug testing.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have agreed to exempt all players from mandatory drug testing while the current season is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Players must submit to six separate drug screens during a given season. The tests indicate abuse of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and performance enhancers. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean the NBA’s ballers will start partying, they could, at least for now.
Compared to other leagues, the NBA has some of the strictest policies against cannabis consumption. The NHL has mostly ignored weed smoking, and the MLB and NFL (very) recently altered their policies to stop suspending players for marijuana, the NBA still puts players on time-outs if they test positive for any illicit substance, including cannabis. These suspensions can seriously harm their careers.
Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the 2019-2020 season would go on hiatus after one player, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, tested positive for novel coronavirus infection. Earlier in the week, Gobert caused a scene at a press conference, touching their microphones with his bare hands and coughing on them. A few days later, he tested positive for the novel coronavirus and began a self quarantine.
Gobert has since apologized for his reckless behavior. In the two weeks prior to Gobert’s positive test result, the Utah Jazz played against seven teams, potentially exposing players on the opposing teams to the coronavirus. Those seven teams went on to play an additional 12 teams, meaning nearly the entire NBA could have been exposed to the virus in that short period of time.