Sorry Wildcats, but winning isn't everything anymore

You can understand the raw disappointment emanating from the Perth Wildcats.

From the time the Sydney Kings announced a press conference at 4pm yesterday, one would have braced for heavy news. That the team would withdraw from the series due to health and safety concerns was not surprising.

You could hear and feel the angry undertones from the Wildcats as they released their own statement, and subsequent press conference, on the heels of the Kings' decision.

There were revelations of options on the table before it ever got to this point. As with everything, there are two sides to every coin.

What happened in previous discussion between the Kings, the Wildcats and the league office? What were the exact options on the table and machinations discussed? If there were said options, why were they not agreed upon? What was the context?

Things change. The truth is ... we won't know the full truth until it surfaces.

The other truth? The country - and the world - is rapidly changing. There doesn't appear to be set rules of engagement on how to operate along this battlefront in these uncertain times.

Unless the league pulls out of their back-pocket an irrefutable clause which stipulates how to award a winner in such an environment, there should be no winner. Declare the series null and void. No Grand Final MVP. Keep the regular season stats. It doesn't matter.

Should the league have possibly taken this out of the hands of both sides much earlier? Yes. The situation was always going to get worse.

Again, these are unprecedented times.

Sport is theatre that transports us momentarily into an almost mythical plane. These world class athletes have poured their life's work and energies to get to moments like this. This could be Damian Martin's final season. This could be Andrew Bogut's last chance for an NBL title. I get it.

Yet these athletes that we admire and seemingly adorn with heightened mystical abilities in our imaginations are also human. They have families. Most importantly, they are a part of our community. They are members of our social fabric who also adhere to the norms and practices of society.

"We want to make it clear that the club takes very seriously the importance of player and community welfare, but we believe that there's a safe and reasonable way for the 2020 NBL Finals to have reached a resolution," Wildcats CEO Troy Georgiu said in a press conference.

The disappointment is understandable. But what exactly is a safe and reasonable way for this series to reach a resolution within an environment in which we're encouraging social distancing?

How much do we truly know about the coronavirus? How much do we know about asymptomatic transmission? What would have been the unintended consequences of continuing with one more game? What would be the downstream effects?

There are more questions - more risks - than answers at this stage.

This is not about which team was willing to play out the series amidst a pandemic. This is about life. This is no longer about winning.

Again, there are two sides to a coin - this was an impossible situation for both teams.

The Kings tried to mitigate risk by withdrawing from the series. They made a call that they should never have been asked to make. The Wildcats are disappointed that a decision was taken out of their hands, and that is entirely reasonable.

There are no winners here.

But honestly, in the current climate, does it really, truly matter?