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Michele Roberts: 'I don't run the NBPA'

James was adamantly against the NBA having an All-Star Game in Atlanta, as well. It gave the perception that Roberts was making decisions without the input of the players, if the biggest name in the game was barking the loudest and doing it quite often. But Roberts wasn’t sending off group texts and telling 450 players or so to just roll with her decisions. Chris Paul is the head of the union, and is close with James, so it’s tough to see James being blindsided in this instance. “I don’t run this union. I know that people think I do,” Roberts said. “But the players know better. They run this union. That was the reason my predecessor [Billy Hunter] got fired, because on some level, they thought that he was he was unilaterally making decisions that affected them.”
“If you asked me at the beginning of this season, if we would be able to complete the season, I would not have taken that bet. Because I didn’t know,” Roberts told Yahoo Sports. “I was prepared, I think Adam [Silver] would say he was prepared to shut down the season, [if] we found evidence that this was too dangerous, being away from home and the traveling. “[So] unequivocally, yes, for the obvious reason that we had it, right? If you don’t play, if you don’t work like everybody else, you don’t get paid.”
Since Dec. 1, 126 players tested positive for COVID-19 with 57 coming during training camp and the preseason as the pandemic raged through the country in the fall. Once the season started on Dec. 22, 69 players tested positive, around 15%. “I believe we had a protocol in place that gave us the best chance, but I didn’t know,” Roberts said. “I’d say secondly, that not only that we completed, we didn’t complete it with a bunch of [bad] games. We completed it with some great competition. And so I could not be happier.”
Roberts, in a phone interview, said that while she’s normally known as “Doctor Doom” on certain projects, she’s optimistic the Coalition can have a real impact. “I made clear to Adam, and I think he agreed, it would be worse for us to have to this thing created, and then be vulnerable to criticism because it didn’t do anything,” she said. “If we’re going to do this, let’s do this in a way that’s not going to hurt either one of us, or subject us to ridicule because it’s of no value. To only be doing it because we think it’s ‘check the box’ to make us appear woke, as opposed to really caring about these issues. If you don’t care about the issues, then the effort is going to tell on you.”