After NBA's warning, Dwight Howard calls concern about wearing mask 'pointless'

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3-min read

After his open flouting of the NBA’s mask guidelines in Disney World led to a warning from the league, Dwight Howard is questioning why players need to wear a mask at all in the so-called bubble.

The Los Angeles Lakers backup center expressed annoyance with the NBA’s mask guidelines while talking with reporters remotely on Saturday.

From USA Today:

“I personally don’t see a risk of us getting it during the time period that we’re here,” Howard said. “We’re not allowed to leave the bubble. We’re only around each other every day. I just feel like it would be pointless for somebody to say anything.

"I understand outside of this bubble, wearing a mask in different places is very important. So I wouldn’t say that it’s not needed. But since we are here in this bubble and we’re the only ones here, and the staff and everyone is getting tested every day, I feel like we’re safe.”

So, basically, Howard argues that the nature of a bubble — in which exposure to the coronavirus is theoretically cut off — makes wearing a mask unnecessary.

However, poking a hole in that theory is the fact that the NBA’s Disney World set-up is not really a bubble. While NBA players, coaches and other staff are not allowed to leave the campus, it’s not the same with the Disney World employees serving their food and cleaning up after them.

And when those employees are not working, many of them are living in some of the worst coronavirus hot spots in not just the country, but the world.

Masks are one of the measures the NBA enacted to mitigate the risk of those employees exposing the league to the virus, so a player publicly claiming that he shouldn’t have to wear a mask seems to be a bit of a problem. Especially when one of those players is posting videos of himself interacting with those employees while not wearing a mask.

While Howard thinks there isn’t a risk of contracting the virus, some of his peers disagree. New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram said he’s “not very confident” the NBA’s experiment will work and Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard doubted players would adhere to the NBA’s rules. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is among those who believe Disney World is still safer than the rest of the world.

Howard reportedly downplayed the concerns about him not wearing a mask by arguing the discourse detracts from the conversation around more serious subjects, like the killing of Breonna Taylor. None of the three Louisville police officers involved in the no-knock, plainclothes raid that ended in Taylor’s death have been charged.

From USA Today:

“They’re still free. They’re out there living their best life,” Howard said. “Instead of worrying about if I have my mask on or not, that’s something we should be discussing. Why haven’t these people been brought in? Why haven’t they been charged for anything or even arrested for what they’ve done?”

It sure feels like one way Howard could get people to focus on Taylor’s killing instead of his refusal to wear a mask is to simply wear a mask.

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard looks on in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Denver. The mother of Howard's 6-year-old son died nearly six weeks ago due to an epileptic seizure, the Lakers center says. Howard has spent his hiatus from basketball dealing with the difficult task of explaining Melissa Rios' death to their son, but also grateful for the chance to heal from the loss outside the daily grind of the NBA schedule. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Dwight Howard doesn't want to wear a mask. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

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