Damian Lillard fired at Governor Kate Brown all the way from Cleveland on Tuesday, lamenting her decision to ban fans from attending Portland Trail Blazers matches at the Fashion Center.
Lillard, the Blazers star and perhaps the most popular man in Oregon, complained on Twitter on Tuesday that the Blazers remain the only team in the National Basketball Association that cannot allow fans into the arena.
His teammate from the back, CJ McCollum, soon called, “I wonder why we have a better record on the road.” He added a laughing emoji.
Last month, the Blazers front office unveiled a plan for the governor’s office that would allow a limited number of fans in the arena and tested the logistics with team members. The Oregon announced last week that Brown’s office approved the Moda Center’s plan – then revoked that approval when Multnoma County fell into the “extreme risk” category last week amid rising cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations.
Last month, fans were allowed to return in small quantities to Thorns and Timbers’ football matches in Providence Park – but were banned with a renewed block.
With the thinnest margin, Brown prevented the second week of restrictions on Tuesday and will reopen indoor dining and other gathering places from May 7.
Her office said Thorns and Timbers fans could be back this weekend – and signaled WW that the Blazers may allow at least some fans in the arena.
“Updates to indoor guidelines have been delayed while counties are at extreme risk,” wrote Brown spokesman Charles Boyle. “Tomorrow we will issue revised indoor capacity limits, and on Friday the counties will return to high risk.”
Republicans in the Oregon Senate mocked Brown on Tuesday night, saying she was giving in only because Lillard was criticizing her.
Lillard’s comments signal the scale of the frustration with the reopening of Brown’s chronology. This makes sense not only because his pulpit is so large, but because the Blazers were largely on board COVID-19 government communications.
The Blazers play in front of an empty arena all season. They became one of the first NBA teams to get most players vaccinated by taking their shots early, collecting excess doses from the Grand Ronde Confederate Tribes.
The first day the team could admit fans to the Moda Center? Friday, when the Blazers are to host … The Los Angeles Lakers.