Jeff Van Gundy Says ESPN Forced Him To Miss Game 1 Of The NBA Finals Despite Never Testing Positive

Jeff Van Gundy Never Tested Positive, ESPN Still Held Him From Game 1

Getty Image

  • Jeff Van Gundy was kept from broadcasting duties for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
  • He says he never tested positive for the virus, however, contrary to earlier reports.
  • Be sure to check out more sports stories at BroBible here.

Just hours before the opening tip of the NBA Finals, ESPN announced that broadcasters Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen had tested positive for the virus. Both were taken off the call for Game 1 between the Celtics and Warriors, but Van Gundy is now saying he never once tested positive.

Van Gundy spoke with Sopan Deb of the New York Times about the situation at hand and made it clear that he never tested positive.

The former NBA head coach explained that he felt slight symptoms on Monday and took an at-home test on Tuesday, which came back inconclusive. ESPN then sent him two rapid tests, which he said both came back negative.

Van Gundy told the Times on Thursday that he was no longer experiencing any symptoms and that he wasn’t sure why he had been pulled from calling Game 1.

It’s worth noting that this is not the NBA’s doing, but solely ESPN’s.

Unlike last year’s NBA playoffs, the league did not institute a testing mandate for TV broadcasters or members of the media. Van Gundy being held out from calling Game 1 appears to simply have been a judgment call by ESPN.

Other ESPN reporters, including Adrian Wojnarowski and Kendra Andrews, did reportedly test positive ahead of Thursday night’s game.

While playing it safe is one thing, Van Gundy surely can’t be happy with how the network handled the situation. This isn’t him calling a random Monday night regular-season game, this is the NBA Finals.