The NBA hotline was set up to allow players and team personnel to anonymously report anyone who is not practicing proper social distancing or interacting with people outside the bubble. It was created after multiple players had been caught breaking social=distancing protocol and were forced to re-quarantine. It had been dismissed by several players, with Rudy Gobert calling it "petty" but it appears some are taking it more seriously.
Of course, it's not like Howard was exactly keeping his aversion to wearing a mask a secret. Since coming to Orlando, he has posted several videos where he can clearly be seen not wearing a mask. So it's possible that Howard thinks the hotline got him caught when, in fact, someone just checked out his Instagram.
Regardless of how Howard was caught, the existence of the hotline shows that the NBA is taking the bubble seriously. After all, if players are constantly coming in and out of the bubble, the chances of them contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to other players increases substantially, which could cause the season to be canceled.
And if the NBA's plan fails and the season is scrapped, it will cost the league greatly and force other leagues to assess if trying to play sports in the midst of a nationwide pandemic is really a good idea.
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