With COVID-19 cases rising rapidly in Central Florida, Iliana Limon Romero and Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel examine whether it’s safe for the NBA and MLS to follow through with plans to resume their seasons at the Walt Disney World complex. They talked to several health officials, along with executives from Orlando’s teams in both leagues, who insist that the risk to players will be minimal.
“A lot of time and effort has been put into the safety protocols,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We’re confident that the protocols that are in place will keep everybody on the Disney campus confined and amongst each other, and with little to no exposure of anyone else from the community. So in saying that, I’m confident that we have a safe plan in place and that despite the recent rise in cases in Florida that it will be a safe environment for all of our players, coaches and staff that are at Disney.”
Neither league has a concrete plan that would force play to stop, the authors add. Both plan to isolate any players or staff members who test positive, and several negative tests will be necessary for them to be deemed healthy. Also, representatives of both leagues maintain that the high number of COVID-19 tests they will need won’t impact their availability for medical professionals in the Orlando area.
There’s more related to the league’s restart:
- The Chinese Basketball Association resumed play today after being shut down for nearly five months, The Associated Press reports. Games are being played in empty arenas as the semifinals started with 20 teams split into two divisions. “Everything you have experienced this season will surely write a strong stroke in the history of the CBA league, and the history will also bear in mind the hardship, dedication and contribution of each of us,” league chairman Yao Ming wrote in a message to players and fans on the CBA’s website. “As the first national large-scale sports event to be restarted in China, the CBA rematch has a strategic significance for comprehensively promoting the resumption of production and restoring life, and its social impact has exceeded the basketball itself.”
- Clippers guard Lou Williams remains “50-50” about resuming the season, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Williams is concerned that playing again will take the focus off the push for racial justice. The Clippers had internal discussions about how they can assist with the movement, and Williams called support from the team and the NBA office “like a weight lifted off our shoulders.”
- Several players are expressing reservations about wearing “smart rings” in the bubble environment, with Kyle Kuzma saying it looks like a “tracking device,” according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.