'The Five' defends testing NBA players for coronavirus after De Blasio criticism: They're 'a big investment'

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"The Five" hosts defended the NBA Wednesday after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio accused the league of using its wealth and influence to privately secure coronavirus testing for their players.

"If you're an NBA owner, you have $30 million over three years locked into a player's contract and he has the flu, and he's been in contact with maybe one of the other players that tested positive, I'm going to move heaven and Earth to get this guy tested because he is a big investment," co-host Jesse Watters said.


Four players on the Brooklyn Nets, tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Tuesday. One player exhibited symptoms, while the remaining three were asymptomatic. Superstar Kevin Durant later confirmed he was one of the players who tested positive.

De Blasio appeared to disagree with the organization's decision to test the players, tweeting Tuesday, “We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested."

“Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick,” he continued.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets paid a private company to conduct the tests.

Co-host Juan Williams echoed NBA spokesperson Mike Bass's statement that the testing was done because of the players' “close interactions with the general public.”

"I think the reason, for example, the state of Oklahoma used half of its daily allotment of tests on the Oklahoma City Thunder is because they want to know exactly where the focus is once they identify that one person on that team [who] has the virus," he explained. "Then, they are looking to restrict those people and follow them and figure out how they can control the spread."

Co-host Dana Perino said that while it's hard to say whether privileged individuals' greater access to a test is "fair or unfair," everybody across the country is just "trying to do their best for their people."

"There are improvements in testing. There are tests coming in all over. Plus, there could be an innovation where there is a test where you can do it yourself ... that would alert you to whether you have the virus and you would know whether to self quarantine or stay away from others that were vulnerable," Perino added.  Scientific innovation, private-sector innovation, that's going to help solve this and bring the cost down."


Guest host Dagen McDowell acknowledged the controversy surrounding priority testing, but defended the NBA's decision to privately test their athletes.

"It's true that when people [who] aren't feeling well, read about an NBA player making $10 million a year getting tested like that, [it] does not claim to make the average American feel very safe and protected," she said.

She continued, "I understand athletes in general needing to get tested because their bodies, that's their livelihood."

"I kind of understand that," she said, admitting that "it is in the owners' interest."

"But, in terms of Instagram influencers getting tested ... I understand flying on a private jet, going to parties, wearing loaner jewelry and taking photographs of it ... but this is next level horse manure," she added.

Juan Williams said he "hoped people wouldn't be that silly" as to test the athletes for purely financial reasons,and took a jab at the Trump administration for the lack of widespread access to tests.

"If we didn't have a shortage of the test, then there wouldn't be this premium in terms of the rich and famous having access to the test," he said.


As of Wednesday evening, nearly 215,000 coronavirus cases had been diagnosed worldwide, more than 7,700 of which are in the U.S. The disease has accounted for just over 8,700 deaths around the world, including 118 people in the U.S.

Fox News' Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.