COVID-19 Impact On The NBA
One of the primary questions surrounding the NBA’s plan to resume the season at Disney World in Orlando has been the integrity of the bubble it plans to set up. How will players be protected from the virus? How will unauthorized personnel be kept out? On Thursday, a report from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps answered that question, but in a controversial fashion.
According to Bontemps, the NBA will use local, state and federal law enforcement as added security at Disney. They will join typical venue and team security staff in Orlando, and there will not be law enforcement on the campus itself. Their role will include, but not be limited to, the following:
Florida Highway Patrol officers will escort team buses to and from arenas. Orange and Osceola County sheriff’s offices will have a presence at team hotels and arenas. The Department of Homeland Security, in addition to Disney and the NBA itself, will monitor social media for threats.
Security will also be responsible for maintaining a closed perimeter around the campus. However, it is unclear whether those responsibilities will fall to team personnel or law enforcement.
NBA players have actively taken part in protests against police brutality since the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts expressed concern over the idea of such extreme security measures in May. “Are we going to arm guards around the hotel?” Roberts asked ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne in May. “That sounds like incarceration to me.”
The NBA shared its security plan with players on Thursday, according to Bontemps. No players have yet commented publicly, and no reporting details concerns from players about the involvement of law enforcement. Considering the social environment in the country right now, though, some apprehension is a near certainty.