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The NBA’s Magic Bubble in Orlando is turning into a house of cards

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Multiple NBA players expressing worry that The Magic Bubble Kingdom is full of holes and will overshadow the movement going on in the USA right now.

The NBA’s Magic Kingdom Bubble Plan appears to have some holes in it according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Many players are feeling uncomfortable with the idea of returning back to play as the nation is gripping with larger matters such as the Black Lives Matter protests for racial justice and equality and the recent increases in COVID19 cases in multiple states.

According to Chris Haynes a “significant number of players disappointed their voice wasn’t heard in decision to restart season, and others believe black players sequestered to entertain and ease league’s economic burden amid racial tension is bad optics.”

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets reportedly has organized a conference call tonight with a number of player to discuss their unease with returning to play now and “what position they should take.” Kyrie Irving believes “that during racial tension, not returning to play should be considered, sources say.”

Along with the fear of drowning out the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States—and around the world—at this time, there are new concerns with the efficacy of the NBA’s plan to keep players safe as we are currently in the middle of the world’s worst pandemic in a hundred years. According to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports, the NBA currently has no plans to subject Disney support staff with the NBA’s strict daily testing and quarantine procedures. Disney staff are “free to go in and out of campus, per a Disney union official.”

That did not appear to go over well with many players including the Utah Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles.

Six hours after this report about Disney Staff not held to the NBA’s guidelines, Shams Charania reported on what guidelines and measures Disney’s staff would be held to.

Disney’s staff will be required to:

  • Always wear a facemask and gloves
  • Follow strict physical distancing and to never be within 6 feet of any NBA participant
  • Have temperature and symptom checks
  • Never be in the room at same time as NBA participants if they are part of the housekeeping staff

With Disney Staff being allowed to travel in and out of the bubble while not falling under strict daily testing guidelines, that seems to fall far short of the NBA’s promise of safety to all participants. The NBA would be relying on Disney’s staff to self-identify symptoms and a staff member could be contagious in the window before they are showing symptoms.

Many of us who have ventured outside of the house have seen people wearing masks incorrectly or taking a quick “15” while working to have their mask down or nose out. While we all understand masks are uncomfortable, the NBA is trying create a bubble city but still allowing there to be a door.

NBA players are right to have some resistance to this plan. Orange County where Orlando is located is rising in cases. In just the last two days, Orange County has recorded 120 and 121 cases. The percentage of tests that result in positive has risen from 0.89% on May 1st to 3.6% on June 5th. It’s still climbing. By the time NBA teams and their staffs are traveling to Orlando, Florida could be in the same situation Arizona finds itself in right now.

Daily New Cases in Orange County, Florida

There’s an additional variable coming into play. Florida is just one of many states surging in cases. One of those states unfortunately is Utah. Utah is surging in cases and is staying open. Hospitalizations are also increasing. The image of an NBA Bubble City dedicated to entertainment may feel callous if the team’s home state is thrown into a second COVID19 wave crisis.

The NBA’s plans to reopen still have many hurdles to climb just to make sure it’s safe for all who participate. But the most hurdle of all by the nation’s most progressive and politically outspoken sports league is going to be how not to diminish the moment we’re having in America right now. Many NBA players are working hard in their respective communities around the nation to further the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality and justice. Even more importantly, around the nation we are witnessing the beginnings of change. It would appear that many players are aware of and don’t want to distract from this moment.