Mystics coach Mike Thibault has a different approach to the WNBA bubble's living conditions

Mystics coach Mike Thibault has a different approach to the WNBA bubble's living conditions

Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault is an old-fashioned type of person. He likes his dad jokes, appreciates the simple things in life and most certainly is not going to complain about the lack of amenities within the WNBA's bubble on social media. 

As WNBA athletes have begun their bubble quarantine down in Bradenton, Fla, several players have expressed their disdain for some of their living conditions.

Images and videos have scattered Twitter and Instagram of the player's laundry rooms filed with mouse traps, worms on the floor of some rooms, and their inadequate meals. The Mystics' own Tianna Hawkins posted about her shower being backed up on her IG story. While these are all less than ideal, Thibault has a different approach on how to get some changes. 

"I find it to kind of be a generational difference," Thibault, 69, told the media via Zoom. "My first instinct if something isn't right, is to try to go fix it. Make a call, go do something. See if you know I can switch rooms...

"My first instinct when I have a problem is not to tweet the world and tell them everybody about it because I'd rather problem solve."

Certainly, there have been issues within the bubble. That's not just in the WNBA, but some MLS and NBA players have voiced their frustrations - primarily with their food options - once they reached their own respective campus in Florida. 


But Thibault wants there to be some restraint on the complaints and coverage. He says there are no bed bugs, as reported by Deadspin, and the league is moving quickly to fix some of the problems addressed by the players.

Not only does he think most of these issues will be corrected, but once the players get on the court things will change. 

"Nothing's going to be ideal in quarantine, I mean our players really haven't had a chance to go and see the campus much and do everything else because they've basically been in their rooms and you know that's not fun for anybody to be cooped up but it's part of a show that everybody's safe," Thibault said.

Thursday afternoon is the first opportunity for some WNBA players to leave their rooms. All individuals entering the bubble must quarantine for four to seven days before stepping foot on campus. Once quarantines are done, training camp for each team will begin. 

"I think that you'll see as we get into practices and people get out about a little bit more on campus. That feeling of being cooped up will go away. You know it's a different environment. Nobody said this was going to be ideal and we certainly don't have the same amenities that maybe the NBA does but you know we also don't have that same kind of money coming into that helps pay for that so we're in a nice place."

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Elena Delle Donne disapproves of some conditions in WNBA bubble

Elena Delle Donne disapproves of some conditions in WNBA bubble

As WNBA teams and players make their way down to Florida to play the entire 2020 season at IMG Academy, many were greeted with ugly living conditions.

The bubble is designed to keep players safe and healthy while the season begins, but so far it looks to be doing the opposite. One source told Deadspin that bed bugs have been found in the rooms of two teams, forcing them to move. Additionally, the source explained that the meals were so unappetizing that some players refused to eat them.


Mystics star Elena Delle Donne took to Twitter to voice her opinion on the matter. Like many others, she was incredibly disgusted with the situation.

Delle Donne, meanwhile, has not announced whether or not she is playing this season. The team arrived at the bubble on Monday but it is unclear if the reigning WNBA MVP was there too. 

Besides the source, video evidence of the living quarters has surfaced, and it makes things look even worse. A viral thread on Twitter shows a beaten-down, dirty laundry room with mouse traps, a carpet that has worms in it and a boxed meal that gives the MLS sandwich situation a run for its money.

Las Vegas Aces star A'ja Wilson confirmed that those videos do accurately depict the current living situation for the players.

Breanna Stewart also shared an Instagram story that showed bed bug traps under a bed.

Lexie Brown of Minnesota Lynx chimed in as well but shared a different opinion than others. While she agrees the conditions are wrong and need to be fixed, she wanted the public to know that now every team has dealt with the unsanitary quarters.

The teams are currently in a quarantine period upon arrival, meaning they must stay in the room that features poor conditions as the league works to make changes. The bubble experiment is something many leagues, including the NBA, are working through in the coming months. The beginning of the WNBA's time in Florida reveals more huddles that these leagues must face in these new environments. 

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WNBA records seven positive coronavirus cases during mandatory testing

WNBA records seven positive coronavirus cases during mandatory testing

The WNBA announced Monday that of its 137 players who were tested for COVID-19 over the past week, seven tested positive.

With its shortened season set to begin at the end of July, the WNBA began mandatory testing on June 28 as the teams are set to travel to Florida on Monday.

The league released a statement detailing the positive tests and the plans moving forward.

“In tests conducted of 137 WNBA players between June 28 – July 5, seven players have tested positive for the coronavirus," the statement reads. "Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until she satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician. Players and staff from 11 of the 12 WNBA teams will arrive at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida today. The Indiana Fever will delay their travel by at least five days in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements.”

The Indiana Fever remain the only team who will not travel to Florida on Monday after they recorded two positive tests during this period. The press release did not state whether any Mystics players tested positive or not.

The seven positive tests account for 5.1% of the league. The league’s positive rate trails the NBA’s 7.1% and the NHL’s 5.8% but exceeds the MLB’s 1.2%, as of the most recent rounds of testing.

The WNBA is set to begin its shortened 22-game regular season on July 24 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. without fans.