Ed Davis calls out Kyrie Irving, Dwight Howard for return-to-play stance
Utah Jazz big man Ed Davis gave his honest thoughts on the current discussion between players about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season amid the surging Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic.
Davis ensured to mention some of the main cogs against having an NBA season like Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard, pointing out why their approach is understandable but errant nonetheless.
While the differences of opinion range from the health and safety protocols, the lack of insurance for a potential career-threatening injury, stringent rules about their time at Walt Disney World, and the optics of playing a season for the sake of money and entertainment while the Black Lives Matter movement tries to implement major societal change, Davis offered a journeyman veteran’s perspective on it all:
“I mean, this is really the only time that you’re going to get that and it’s the only time you’re going to get 22 teams together for seven weeks, so we can really get down and meet every couple of weeks and do some really cool things. There’s some really great stuff that we can do for the world,” Davis told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “I feel like all of us doing it together and working with the NBA and working with these owners, we can really help out. For me, I want to fight against police brutality. That’s my cause; that’s really what I want to focus on. I hope that when we get down there, we can do that together. So, like I said, I’m all for us playing and I feel like we need to play. I think a lot of these guys know really need to educate themselves on what’s really going to happen if we do take a stand and don’t play.”
While at first it appeared to be non-star players vying for this cause, the involvement of NBA players like Irving quickly turned that around. Davis noted it’s easy for guys with a platform to appear heroic to the cause and boost their profile while others would likely struggle without a paycheck:
“It’s easy for a guy like Kyrie [Irving] to say that he’ll give everything back [for social reform], but would he really give everything back? It’s easy for Dwight Howard to say that we don’t need to play when he’s in Atlanta in his $20 million mansion,” said Davis. “But there are other guys on the rosters who need this money to provide for whoever they’re taking care of and things like that. It’s easy for the superstars in the league to say this and how they feel about this and that. But it means a lot more when it comes from the role players and the guys that [aren’t stars]. There are so many different perspectives because there are so many different levels in the NBA. Like I said, it’s so easy for the superstars to say, “Let’s just not play,” and they’re good. But some guys can’t just do that. There are lives on the line and, like I said, generational wealth on the line. These are the hits that we’re going to take if we don’t play.”
There is a leaguewide feeling that the NBA season will resume when intended on July 30, but there will have to be a middle ground of understanding for the parties to move forward with Training Camp 2.0. Davis understands all this, especially since teammates Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson are playing for contracts, but he’s almost 100% sure this season will resume because most players want to play while also helping bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.