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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Disney World’s Stupid ‘Athlete Bubble’ Is Already Contaminated

With COVID-19 already in the MLS bubble, how screwed is this unnecessary tournament?
With COVID-19 already in the MLS bubble, how screwed is this unnecessary tournament?
Illustration: Eric Barrow (Shutterstock)

It’s already bursting.

With MLS set to kick off a tournament next week — and the NBA slated to arrive later this month — Disney World is already home to a fresh coronavirus cluster. Almost immediately upon arrival, six FC Dallas players tested positive at the central Florida resort “bubble,” soccer officials said Wednesday.

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In an equivocal press release, MLS trumpeted its handling of the outbreak, noting that the players in question had been quickly quarantined, with remote health monitoring arranged for each man.

Don’t think too hard, plebeian! It’s all under control. Let Papa Disney sort out the bad things. All you need to worry about, in the meantime, is shoving more content down your fat gullet. Have you tried that free week of Disney+ yet?

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Here’s the important part, which seems to have gotten lost in the league’s self-congratulatory wash: Only two of the six players tested positive on the day of the squad’s June 27 arrival. The remaining four players spent at least two days among the hotel’s general population — bound to a particular floor, but out of quarantine, in relatively close quarters with teammates. Put in practical terms? Over the next few days, more positive tests are likely to emerge in and around Disney’s “Swan and Dolphin” resort complex.

Here’s the overarching truth, omitted entirely from Wednesday’s news release: There is no point to any of this. So, why has MLS arranged for all 26 of its teams to descend simultaneously on Florida, of all places? To hold an exhibition tournament.

What?

It’s a frivolous enough risk when the NBA, for instance, chooses to run playoff brackets under present circumstances. But MLS, in all its wisdom, has chosen this particular moment to manufacture an exhibition tournament nobody cares about. And they’re doing it in Florida, for some reason, as the state faces a crisis of historic proportions.

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“But sports are a part of our national healing process!”

Bullshit, they are. My wounds heal fine when I’m not watching MLS Presents: A Made-Up Tournament — The Quarter-Final Spectacular, Brought to You by Heineken. What a bad argument that is. Go for a walk, you goon.

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Transcendently stupid, MLS. It’s going to end badly, and it’s going to be your fault. Step up now. Shut it down. Set a strong precedent for the NBA, whose own traveling circus is due to arrive soon, and who will surely fuck things up worse than you have.

Even if basketball executives aren’t paying attention to how soccer handles these next few weeks, the players are watching.

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The point of making a deal with the devil is that you get something good out of it, for a little while, at least, before you’re whisked off to an eternity of fire and torment. It’s hard to figure out what, exactly, MLS executives are getting here in exchange for their souls. A low-rated exhibition tournament? Really? Suckers.

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