07.9
20

As Storm enters WNBA bubble in Florida, players give mixed reviews on living conditions – Seattle Times

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Storm standout Alysha Clark had mixed emotions about airing grievances on the shoddy accommodations she received upon arrival Monday night at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

But she couldnt let this stand.

Clark was one of a handful of WNBA players who publicly complainedabout her living conditions, which consisted of mousetraps, worms and bed bugs.

Players circulated images, which quickly spread on social media and caused an uproar among the leagues fans and supporters, including NBA star Damian Lillard who spoke out against the double standard between the NBAs bubble in nearby Orlando.

Our (players association) had busted its tail this past offseason to make sure we get great travel condition and great living conditions when it comes to being down here at IG, Clark said. (Initially) seeing the villas and stuff, youre like, wow, this is really nice. And then getting here and that not being the case.

Its just a matter on who does that fall on? What weshowed up to was not what we were shown and told we would be accommodatedwith.

ESPNs Kayla Johnson posted videos on Twitter of a subpar laundry room with a mousetrap propped against a wall and a worm in another room in the facility.

Deadspin reported Tuesday that two teams needed to change rooms because of an infestation of bed bugs. Additionally, multiple players complained about meals.

Clark credited the WNBA, the leagues players association and Talisa Rhea, the Storms vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager, for helping her move into a new room Wednesday.

Its not the case that all players were in the situation that I was in, because there are really nice villas like the one we moved into is much cleaner and much nicer, Clark said. The other one that we were in shouldnt have even been an option in the first place. But they fixed it.

Storm point guard Jordin Canada anticipated there would be problems while safely populating the WNBAs bubble with 12 teams and 137 players. And she anticipates there will be a few more snags while the league attempts to host a condensed 22-game regular season and playoffs during a coronavirus pandemic.

Coming into this I knew it wasnt going to be perfect, and I knew there were going to be some mistakes and trying to adjust, Canada said. I cant speak for anyone else, I know other people have complained about their situations, but for me I havent had a problem with my living situation.

Where Im staying at is a nice place and a nice area. Icant really complain what Ive experienced so far. But I do know theres otherplayers that have been put into a situation thats a nice livable situation.

Clark was a little hesitant about appearing on ESPNs First Take on Wednesday morning to bring further awareness to the players grievances.

This is a league that Im proud to be a part of and helpgrow and change, said the nine-year veteran. You want to make sure that whenyou get do get the opportunities to speak, not only do you address the issuesat hand, but also make sure thats not the only story.

We get all this media coverage now when everything is goingbad, but if we would have had that before then maybe we wouldnt be in thissituation.

Still, Clark noted: Seven percent of mediacoverage is on womens sports. How can someone invest in us if they dont seeus? It starts with having that platform and having more media coverage.

Most WNBA players will complete a league-mandated 72-hourquarantine period Thursday with the Storm scheduled to start training campFriday.

Itll be Seattles first time on the court since last yearsdefeat in the second round of the playoffs.

Its always great when you get to see your teammates, Canada said. Its been months since weve seen each other. The fact that well be able to see each other again is great. I love my teammates and we all get along, so Im excited to get things going again.

Despite the less than ideal start, Clark is hopeful the WNBAwill be able to start and finish the season.

Theres so many different moving parts to all of this and theres a lot of logistics to this that along the way were going to have to figure out, she said. Most part, players came in with an open mindset that we know this is going to be a work in progress as we figure things out. Thats the unknown.

Its hard to say, yeah, everything is going to go great, because you never know and thats the biggest challenge in this bubble. We dont know how its going to play out.

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As Storm enters WNBA bubble in Florida, players give mixed reviews on living conditions - Seattle Times

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