REIGNING WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne said on Wednesday she must decide whether to risk her life playing basketball amid the COVID-19 outbreak or forfeit her paycheck after her medical opt-out request was denied.
Delle Donne, who has chronic Lyme disease, said in an open letter posted on The Players’ Tribune website that her personal physician believes she is at high risk of serious illness if she were to contract COVID-19.
Yet the Washington Mystics forward said her request for a medical waiver, which included a signed form waiving her right to an appeal, was denied by a panel of doctors convened by the league and the WNBA Players Association without speaking to her or her doctor.
Had she been granted a medical waiver, Delle Donne would have been allowed to skip the shortened season with pay.
“I’m now left with two choices: I can either risk my life … or forfeit my paycheck,” Delle Donne wrote. “Honestly? That hurts. It hurts a lot.
“I don’t have NBA player money. I don’t have the desire to go to war with the league on this. And I can’t appeal.”