The DeSantis order is broader than just WWE. All "professional sports leagues and their media partners" are now considered "essential" says USA Today. But it's particularly good news for WWE, owned by the well-connected Vince McMahon and former Trump Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahon, because one of Vince McMahon's other prominent ventures, the alternative pro football league XFL, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. WWE tapes its matches in Orlando, Florida, so long as there's no public admittance to the tapings, they can go forward.
This will take a load off the McMahon family's minds, which is good news because Linda McMahon is probably preoccupied with how best to manage the Trump-supporting "America First Action" Super PAC.
The question about DeSantis' decision, though, remains: Why?
Despite the vanity plays of all involved, there is no metric by which any professional sport, much less a scripted approximation of one, could be considered "essential" to the nation's well-being. Even if you are of the opinion that the American public needs both bread and circuses, the invention of video sports recording, back in 19-dickity-whatever, means we have a circus backlog that will get us by, if the alternative is exposing athletes from around the nation to close-contact, sweat-heavy sports that feature considerable face-touching on the best of days. It would be nice to see new sporting events, but it is not essential that we be granted them. WWE matches are not ventilators. State governors are not bidding against each other to ensure they get their proper share. There are no trucks lined up outside hospitals stacked with the bodies of those who could not view the matches in time.
The answer to why almost certainly mirrors the reason professional sports teams seem to have been able to acquire teamwide COVID-19 testing no matter how harshly the tests have been rationed for health care workers or the general public: People who own sports teams are extremely damn rich. They are able to bend cities and states to their whims regularly, demanding new stadiums be constructed and tax breaks be granted. They do not want to lose money, and so making sure they do not lose money will be considered "essential" to America's operation.
You've got to admit, nobody could have seen the various twists and turns of late-stage capitalism playing out in quite such dramatic fashion. After a near-implausible upset win by a roundly unlikable, near-parodic competitor, the United States takes a heel turn on the world stage—only to be rocked by unexpected disaster.
How will it play out? Tune in next time to see.
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