'Lack of respect': NBA player's 'inexcusable' virus blunder

Pictured here, Phoenix Suns centre Deandre Ayton.
Deandre Ayton was sidelined in the first quarter of the OKC game because he missed a virus test. Pic: Getty

Phoenix centre Deandre Ayton has felt the wrath of fans after being made to sit out the first quarter of his side's must-win NBA game for failing to take his scheduled coronavirus test.

Ayton was scheduled to take a test the day before the game against Oklahoma, but was sidelined after missing it.

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The Suns are in a desperate battle to secure eighth spot in the Western Conference and a spot in the Playoffs, making his breach that much harder to fathom.

Phoenix went into the game against the Thunder as the hottest team in the NBA bubble, with five straight victories leaving them just outside the top eight.

Despite missing his test, Ayton still played for the Suns from the second quarter onwards after taking a test on the morning of the match, which came back negative.

The Thunder capitalised on Ayton's absence in the first quarter to jump out to a 37-23 lead, before the centre helped guide his side to their sixth straight win.

Ayton finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 17 minutes of the 128-101 win.

Following the contest, Suns coach Monty Williams said his player made an innocent mistake when he missed the test.

“We’ve said in an NBA season, guys are going to make mistakes,” head coach Monty Williams told reporters. “You have to be able to give people grace. It wasn’t intentional and thankfully he was able to get tested early enough to get the results back so he could come and play.

“The guys received him with open arms because we all understand we’re human. We have to be better. We know that, but he’s not only one that’s done since we’ve been here. It just happens.”

Fans take aim at Ayton over missed test

Ayton's coach may have played down his star player's breach but fans were not as forgiving, particularly given a Playoffs spot is at stake for the team.

with agencies