The NBA and Major League Soccer are planning to resume play in Orlando next month, and if this contributes to a single coronavirus death, they and Republican leaders in the state should be tried for manslaughter. You read that right: Gov. Ron DeSantos, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Matt Gaetz, and sports commissioners would all be culpable, writes Deadspin's Thomas Laforgia.
Florida, Disney World and the NBA (LeBron James at right with Giannis Antetokounmpo in photo) will have blood on their hands, and Republican politicians in the Sunshine State are implicated, too. They are the "dregs" making life and death decisions that put the state's large senior population at risk to COVID-19, the Deadspin writer asserts.
Laforgia forewarns the Sunshine State of "the cacophony of humming ventilators, grieving children, and hammers nailing wooden boards onto storefronts. It’s the sound of death, despair, and destitution. It’s headed straight for you."
Sports are an entertainment product, Laforgia writes, before asking why people are celebrating "Disney’s vulturous swoop" (the NBA's forthcoming games there in Orlando) "as some great logistical triumph?"
But forget about Disney for now. Devilish Republican politicians are really the villains in Florida.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, who last week introduced a bill in Congress to prohibit anthem kneeling, embarrasses himself on a daily basis with contrived antics, Laforgia says. "He is a glib imp, beholden to a trillion-dollar weapons industry that serves as the true political power behind his Panhandle district." Florida's U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis deserve harsh condemnation for the potential collision of sports and coronavirus, too:
"Your senior senator, Marco Rubio, is the human manifestation of a dad joke. He once held presidential aspirations, only to doof away his chances by awkwardly sipping water during a State of the Union rebuttal. Only Howard Dean, in recent memory, has managed to flame out of relevance for a dumber reason.
"Your empty haircut of a governor, Ron DeSantis, would delight in your peasant death if it meant a bump in his poll numbers, an increase in Tallahassee’s bottom line, or, ideally, both."
Florida has more than 4 million seniors, second only to California. They're at risk of COVID-19 deaths because of Florida's hubris and the above-mentioned sports leagues and GOP politicians, Laforgia alleges. The NBA and Disney aim to create a safe bubble to protect players, support personnel and the public, but Laforgia is already assuming the bubble will be breached, and he's acting as judge, jury and executioner for those responsible:
"If that sideshow leads to just one death in the surrounding community — even indirectly, through a lack of resources — every official involved in these horrible machinations should be tried for manslaughter, from DeSantis on down. That means you, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. That means you, MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The blood will be on your hands."
Florida's infection rates are on the increase, and Gov. DeSantis is allegedly blame-worthy for pointing to Hispanic laborers as part of the reason for this. Insinuating the governor is racist, Laforgia does not mention that DeSantis cited cramped living quarters by the Hispanic workforce for a surge in coronavirus infections.
Gov. DeSantis perhaps feels some kinship with "viral infestations," Laforgia writes, because he opened the state’s doors and declared sports and sports-adjacent businesses essential workers in exchange for taxable revenue.
"Lock in the revenue streams now," Laforgia writes. "Worry about the public health fallout later.
"When the legislators are in on the con, it’s not so hard to fabricate a sense of political feasibility."
Especially money-grubbing Republicans who don't care about people, Laforgia implies.