Stephen A. Smith believes the NBA needs to address disturbing issues surrounding the WNBA's facilities at IMG Academy in Florida.
During Tuesday's episode of "First Take," the ESPN host shared his concerns after learning about poor living conditions inside the WNBA's "bubble."
In a rarity for First Take, @stephenasmith went off main topic this morning to discuss the WNBA and its bubble accommodations versus NBA's Disney plans.— Cassandra Negley (@CasNegley) July 7, 2020
"The NBA might need to be aware of that and make sure they address that quick, fast and in a hurry."
H/T @DorothyJGentry pic.twitter.com/MdxvxkX77s
"I'm hearing a lot of rumblings, a lot of people have reached out to me over the last 24 hours talking about how the NBA players themselves are treated vastly different than WNBA players," said Smith. "A lot of people in the WNBA — I'm hearing some noise about the treatment that they're receiving. The hotel rooms might be fine, but the laundry facilities and things of that nature, it's considerably less than what NBA players are being treated like.
"These kinds of things will be very problematic for the NBA because when you say WNBA it's not like people are going to separate that from the NBA when it comes to something like this. It's going to be all intertwined. So the NBA might need to be aware of that and make sure they address that quick, fast and in a hurry, because there are rumblings that are proliferating."
The NBA created the WNBA in 1996 and still owns about 50 percent of the female professional basketball league.
As WNBA players were arriving at their new home on Monday, videos began emerging on social media showing unclean and seemingly infested amenities, including a laundry room with filthy floors and a mousetrap.
just got this video from one of the laundry rooms inside the WNBA “bubble” and couldn’t be more disturbed. this is not ok. pic.twitter.com/6FC10jlcql— Kayla Johnson (@klajohnson) July 7, 2020
Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson replied to the video and confirmed it was indeed their laundry room.
Like ppl funny but this fr our laundry room— A'ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) July 7, 2020
Check out this video, which appears to show a worm on the floor next to a player's bed.
What appears to be a worm found on the floor of one of the rooms pic.twitter.com/WRZYTxdbGo— Kayla Johnson (@klajohnson) July 7, 2020
And it gets worse — a report by Deadspin claims two teams had bedbugs in their living quarters and had to be moved to different rooms. Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart shared a video on her Instagram story showing what appeared to be bug traps between her mattress and box spring.
(UPDATE: ESPN reported Tuesday that IMG brought in a third-party exterminator, who found no bedbugs.)
Some NBA players, who are staying in a luxury resort at Walt Disney World outside Orlando, shared their disbelief at the WNBA's accommodations.
This is not suitable for anyone. Let alone a professional athlete. This looks horrible. https://t.co/dLq0tGQEbn— Chris Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) July 7, 2020
ESPN reported that the poor conditions were limited to The Lodge at IMG, one of three housing options for WNBA players. The other two facilities received positive reviews. Several players were moved out of The Lodge to the other facilities.
Additionally, the WNBA sent players a survey seeking feedback, and IMG told players in a previously scheduled orientation meeting Monday night that it would address the players' concerns.