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Mike Anthony: Some WNBA players encounter inexcusably filthy conditions at IMG Academy bubble upon arrival for 2020 season

Some social media postcards from the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Fla.: a worm on the carpeted floor of a hotel room, a mouse trap atop a 2-by-4 affixed to a wall in a filthy laundry room, bug traps between a mattress and box spring, a clogged shower drain.

The WNBA might have every possible COVID-19 precaution in place at IMG Academy, but some players clearly, at least initially, were living in conditions that failed to meet common sense minimum standards of sanitation and comfort.

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They arrived Monday to squalor.

Some. Not all.

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Still, what a shame. What a bad look.

Too bad Robin Leach is no longer with us. He could be brought to Disney World to document the moves and describe the extravagance NBA players will enjoy in a life of luxury at the finest resort facilities inside their own bubble in Orlando.

Who can narrate a walkthrough of their women counterparts’ arrangements 100-plus miles away on the beautiful Gulf Coast? A local health official will do.

“We have been working closely with IMG and the Players Association to address issues players have expressed about one of the housing locations on campus,” a WNBA spokesman said in a statement Tuesday night. “IMG is accommodating all player requests regarding these issues, including moving players to other accommodations.”

The disturbing images probably represent the experience of just several among approximately 140 players. There were social media posts expressing satisfaction with the setup, too. But when a league arrives on site and on the precipice of pulling off a complicated return to competition, only to have one of that league’s most famous players discover bug traps, that’s a problem.

Breanna Stewart, a four-time national champion at UConn and the 2018 WNBA MVP, shared the picture with her 208,000 Instagram followers.

Last season’s MVP, Elena Delle Donne, tweeted to her 259,000 followers, “Unacceptable,” while linking to a Deadspin story about IMG conditions.

ESPN’s Kayla Johnson tweeted videos of a players’ community laundry room and the worm on the floor, and a less-than-appetizing picture of “a meal option served to some WNBA players.” Some players have opted for a meal plan while on site.

The NBA makes most of the money and has most of the money. I get it. But I can’t seem to come across a good reason why IMG, the WNBA and even Adam Silver and those in the NBA’s hierarchy couldn’t find a way to make sure that every single WNBA player would, at least, spend every moment of basketball bubble life in settings that are not infested or gross.

The men are set to live it up, fancy. Some of the women were ushered into conditions subpar to what they would experience at home, or in their usual WNBA summer home, or in their professional homes of winter in obscure parts of Eastern Europe. That’s just wrong and irresponsible.

It’s 2020, a strange and trying time, when we all need to have each other’s back and best interests in mind. Perhaps the NBA could have spent more time and money to help the WNBA perfect the setup.

That would be a good look, for everyone. These women are taking risks, just like the men. These women will create the resumption of sports we crave, just like the men. These women are going to use a platform to promote messages of social justice, just like the men.

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Yet the NBA gets Mickey Mouse.

And the WNBA gets … mice?

This has to get straightened out. Today. Hopefully it is. A source tells me an exterminator inspected the premises Tuesday.

“My experience has been good,” former UConn All-American Napheesa Collier, the 2019 rookie of the year, said during a media teleconference Tuesday for Minnesota Lynx players. “It’s day two, half of day two, so we’re excited to see what else the league is doing. And we had a call earlier [Tuesday] where they addressed a lot of our concerns, which is really good.”

Sylvia Fowles, the 2017 MVP, said on the same Lynx call: “I don’t have any issues. It doesn’t take much to please me. And I just want to make sure I keep making sure that I don’t try to complain as much. Not everybody’s going to be happy. You’ve got to pretty much take the punches as you roll and, like Phee said, we’re just in day two. So we’ll see how these things pan out.”

The WNBA announced June 15 that the season would be held at IMG, with all 12 teams playing a 22-game regular season followed by a standard playoff format. Players are required to quarantine for four days in hotels or villas upon arrival, then are free to visit various on-site amenities within the bubble, or “The Wubble,” as players took to affectionately calling it in the days before arrival.

It has not been a nightmare across the board.

Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Mercury tweeted: “In the bubble! I see the energy already!”

“I gotta step in and say that as disgusting and unacceptable as that video is....... where i am staying … is super nice,” Lexie Brown of the Lynx tweeted. “can’t watch people [disparage] our league more than they already do.”

Shenise Johnson of the Minnesota Lynx, also on Twitter, wrote: “A few hiccups were expected upon arrival to the bubble as we are all navigating uncharted territory! Let’s give the league/ organizations time to amend their mistakes! #BubbleLife #WNBA”

It’s still workable.

But when players began arriving — most via commercial flights — the social media wildfire started spreading quickly, drawing confirmation and reaction from players.

It was the type of stuff that made you shake your head.

Even Damian Lillard of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers chimed in, tweeting “I hope this is fake,” in response to the laundry room video.

Dearica Hamby of the Las Vegas Aces tweeted "I'll be the one to ask.. @NBA @Disney can we come please"

IMG doesn’t have to be Disney World. But it has to be better today than it was Monday and Tuesday.

“Our arrival to IMGA for the 2020 WNBA season went smoothly,” Sun coach Curt Miller said in a statement. “We realize challenges will arise during this unique season but appreciate the efforts of the WNBA and IMGA to address any concerns of our players and staff.”

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