NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says league will 'cease completely' if COVID breaks out

Silver, who is heading to Orlando Thursday, talked about plans in case of an outbreak, why it’s important to continue the season and the league’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
6:23 | 07/29/20

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says league will 'cease completely' if COVID breaks out
tomorrow it officially is game on for the NBA. The pros have been training, scrimmaging down in the bubble at Disney world. The league doing their best to keep coronavirus in check but as we are seeing with baseball, playing sports during a pandemic can be risky. Joining us now is commissioner of the NBA Adam silver. He is in New York but he's going to be heading down to the bubble tomorrow for the restart of the season. Adam, thank you so much for being with us. And I know that you're anxious. Many people are anxious for the season to get going again. You said, the words you used, cautiously optimistic about the restart and when you see what's happening in baseball in particular with the marlins even more players testing positive, Adam, how does that add to your concern for your league? Well, good morning, robin. You said the word anxious. I think that would also describe how I feel. I mean, we've been working on this for a long time, but as you pointed out in one of your earlier news reports there is a high case rate in Florida down in Orange county where Orlando is, as well. Obviously we're seeing what's happening in baseball. With the marlins especially and it's something we track closely. Having said that we have confidence in this protocol that we designed you referred to as a bubble. It's not actually a sealed bubble. But everyone who is on that campus is tested on a daily basis. They're taking extraordinary precautions, the only time they're not wearing masks is when they're actually playing basketball. If someone tracks positive we track them closely and quarantine people who first come down. We think we have a plan in place that should work. That is the difference between your league and baseball and we did point that out. Other leagues as well have gone with the bubble aspect, but what would it take, Adam, for the NBA to have to cancel games as we've just seen with major league baseball and do you have a plan in place in case you have a similar outbreak? We do, although it's not an exact science because nobody has ever done this before. And I think we have plans in place where we might pause similar to what baseball is doing right now, probably if we had any significant spread at all, we'd immediately stop and one thing we'd do is try to track those cases to determine where they're coming from and whether there has been spread on the campus. I would say ultimately we would cease completely if we saw that this was spreading around the campus and something more than isolated cases were happens. So you would have no qualms about shutting it down. I wouldn't. It's health and safety first. That's always been our guidepost going into this. We've worked very closely with the players association and all the teams on this, and we know it's one thing we've always pointed out, it's about relative safety at this point. When you look at the high case rates not just in Florida but around the country we also have significant numbers of players who tested positive between the time we shut down our season and when we restarted in early July. So we jokingly have said but maybe it's not so funny that the safest place in the world may be on this campus at Disney right now, but if it were to turn out to not be the case, we certainly we would stop. Social justice has been something that has always been very important to the league. Why is it so important for the league, the players and those involved to take such a strong stance when it comes to fighting for social justice? As you pointed out, it's been part of our history. I think of it as part of the DNA of the league. I think of bill Russell, you know, some of the early players there, their activism over the years and now an issue like the killing of George Floyd comes, you know, the league in case of the NBA, it's roughly 80% black similarly with the wnba, these are issues in terms of racial inequities in our society that are near and dear to their heart and right at the time we were making our plans to relaunch the season is when the death of George Floyd occurred and I think it frankly almost prevented us from relaunching the season given the turmoil and how emotional people were around the league and around the country for that matter, and it was very important then as we came together to think about what we could do to use this platform to effect change and I think, you know, messaging is just part of it but as those images show the court with black lives matter and wearing messages on their Jerseys, you know, but beyond that we're working collectively, the 30 NBA teams on a foundation dedicated to economic empowerment, specifically focused on black Americans, so as you said, this has been a part of the league forever. Yeah, it goes beyond the optics which you all want to accomplish. A final question, you brought up the wnba. We saw some of the teams walk off the court before the playing of the national anthem. What is the NBA's stance on that and on kneeling during the anthem? The NBA has had a rule on its books that proceeded David stern which was standing for the national anthem. Having said that, I respect peaceful protest. I'm not sure what our players will do when they come out tomorrow night and we'll, of course, address it at the time. But I also understand these are highly unusual times. We will see what happens. All right. As the season starts tomorrow, I know you're heading down there to the bubble right now but thank you, Adam silver, for being with us this morning. Appreciate it. Be well. Our best to everybody in the league. You too, robin. Thank you. All right. The NBA restarts tomorrow night. ESPN's coverage kicks off -- tips off Friday night with a doubleheader starting at 6:30 P.M. Eastern. Check out your local listings.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"6:23","description":"Silver, who is heading to Orlando Thursday, talked about plans in case of an outbreak, why it’s important to continue the season and the league’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement. ","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/GMA","id":"72048035","title":"NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says league will 'cease completely' if COVID breaks out","url":"/GMA/News/video/nba-commissioner-adam-silver-league-cease-completely-covid-72048035"}