Players and pundits are hitting out over the ‘disturbing’ conditions inside the WNBA’s quarantine ‘bubble’.
The majority of the WNBA arrived at IMG Academy in Florida on Monday, but what they found when they arrived to their new home for the next few months was far from luxurious.
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A video of one of the laundry rooms made its way around Twitter and garnered attention from NBA players who are heading 100 miles away to Disney World to restart their season in actual bubble luxury.
And even ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith noted the concerns on Tuesday’s “First Take,” calling for the NBA front office to pay attention.
It started with a video of one laundry room featuring filthy floors, a mouse trap atop a two-by-four screwed into the wall and supplies littered about.
Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson replied to the video, saying it was hers.
A video in the same thread showed what appeared to be a worm on the floor next to a bed.
And finally, a photo of the meal option served to some players that appeared to want to be a stir fry, but didn’t quite make it there. MLS also had initial issues over boxed lunches when teams got to Orlando.
Alexa Philippou, a Connecticut Suns reporter with the Hartford Courant, documented some of the concerns in a Twitter thread that also included players’ emoji-only reactions.
The Washington Mystics’ Tianna Hawkins has a tub that won’t drain.
Seattle Storm star and former MVP Breanna Stewart shared on her Instagram story a picture showing what she said are bug traps between the mattress and spring box.
Some players are also experiencing bed bugs and inedible food, per Howard Megdal at The Next.
The videos got NBA players, such as Damian Lillard and Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant, to chime in on.
Stephen A. Smith calls on NBA to take action
The stars of the WNBA still have a long way to go to get from multi-room townhouses and delivered box meals to a villa designed for Disney royalty alongside five-star chef dining and special movie premiers.
There is still work to be done to close that gap, but right now players risking their health to play basketball deserve more than bugs and mush. And an unlikely of sources is bringing it up.
“First Take” doesn’t discuss the WNBA all that much, but on Tuesday morning Stephen A. Smith brought up the disparity on his own and called on the NBA to address it.
“The NBA might need to be aware of that and make sure they address that quick, fast and in a hurry,” he said.
The NBA created the WNBA in 1996 and still holds 50 percent ownership. The 12 WNBA teams own the other half. And a handful of teams are associated with the NBA teams in their market.
The hope would be that the NBA involves itself in its holding, and that owners with teams in both leagues make cases for the W to be treated in the same basic ways as the NBA.
Commonly, women’s sports make headlines only when something goes wrong.
And while that’s the case here, hopefully Smith giving the issue credence will lift the standards.