The National Basketball Association, the world’s largest professional basketball league, has come under increasing pressure to reform the game in the face of rising drug abuse.
The NBA is set to announce a reform plan next week, but the players’ union, which has long been critical of the league, is now pushing for an overhaul.
The union’s president, Michele Roberts, told The Associated Press on Monday that she and other union officials are “not in the spirit of the NBA.”
Roberts said in an interview with ESPN.com that the union’s new plan, to be released next week that will seek to reduce the number of drugs used to treat players’ injuries, is “not about a new approach to the NBA, but rather about changing the culture that’s been set up and the culture of the game.”
“It’s not about an overhaul of the way the game is played,” she said.
“I think the league needs to change the culture, and that’s not what we’re doing.”
Roberts, who is married to the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, told ESPN.
“We’re going to be trying to get as many people out of this game as we can.
I know we have a long way to go.”
In recent years, the NBA has faced mounting pressure from players, some of whom say they’re being abused by coaches and players.
Last month, the NFL reached a $1 billion settlement with former players over allegations that the league failed to investigate abuse allegations by players.
And a former New York City police officer is facing federal charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at the height of the drug epidemic.
The league has said that it has implemented a “zero tolerance” policy for the abuse of its players.
“Players are the most important part of our lives,” Roberts said.
The new plan comes as the NBA is grappling with a series of major problems in its locker rooms and practices.
In a recent report, the league said it had lost nearly 30 percent of its athletes since 2009, and about one in five had died.
That number is a sharp contrast to a decade ago, when the league’s attendance was roughly equal to the U.S. population.
In 2009, the year the league began to institute mandatory drug testing for players, about 14 percent of players tested positive for banned substances.
The latest statistics show that figure is about 20 percent, which is lower than the 25 percent rate in 2015, when at least 18 percent of the players tested were on banned substances, the most recent data available.
The report also showed that only 13 percent of all players tested in 2016 had tested positive in the previous five years.
In the past year, the percentage of players with positive tests has dropped to 5.6 percent.
The AP’s Kevin Seifert and The Associated Statesman’s Steve Pardon contributed to this report.