Elena Delle Donne’s opt-out request denied, forcing her to pay or play

A panel of physicians has put Elena Delle Donne in a brutally unfair spot.

The WNBA‘s return to play has been highly criticized for its unfair highly unequal conditions compared to the NBA bubble, and it’s only getting worse. According to ESPN’s John Barr and Sarah Spain, reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne was denied her opt-out request due to medical reasons by a panel of physicians appointed by the league.

What this means is Delle Donne — who is coming off winning her first WNBA championship with the Washington Mystics — will be forced to either play out the 2020 season or forego her entire salary.

This is despicable for several reasons. For starters, WNBA salaries are already minuscule as it is compared to NBA players, so being forced into choosing between her health and earning this already disproportionate amount is bad enough. But, as Delle Donne points out in her statement, it gets much worse when one remembers that she has been battling Lyme disease for years, and her own personal physician, who has been treating her for all that time, advised her that she was high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19.

“I love my team, and we had an unbelievable season last year, and I want to play!” she said in her statement. “But the question is whether or not the WNBA bubble is safe for me.”

Everyone knows Elena Delle Donne is a warrior. She has battled this disease, and spoken publicly about the need for a cure, since 2008. Aside from being a WNBA champion, two-time MVP and six-time All-Star, she also battled through three herniated discs in her back to lead the Mystics to their first championship in franchise history.

“I’m thinking things over, talking to my doctor and my wife, and look forward to sharing what I ultimately plan to do very soon,” she said.

Next: Jonquel Jones will miss 2020 WNBA season

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