WNBA offers play­ers se­cu­rity app for safety over­seas

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The WNBA is of­fer­ing an as­sist to play­ers trying to stay safe while trav­el­ing over­seas.

The league has part­nered with LiveSafe, a safety com­mu­ni­ca­tions plat­form, to pro­vide a mo­bile se­cu­rity app to its 60-plus play­ers com­pet­ing in Rus­sia, Turkey, China and other coun­tries this off­sea­son. The app de­buted this week and play­ers are al­ready sign­ing up.

“This was a proac­tive ef­fort to pro­tect our play­ers and se­cure their per­sonal safety,” WNBA Pres­i­dent Lisa Bor­ders said in a phone in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press. “Our part­ner in this en­deavor is LiveSafe. It has mul­ti­ple fea­tures and func­tion­al­ity. It’s a real-time way for our play­ers to ask for help and re­ceive help in dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions or threat­en­ing en­vi­ron­ments.”

The app will al­low the play­ers to com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly with the league and its se­cu­rity team. It also can send se­cu­rity ad­vi­sories and notifications to play­ers when they’re over­seas, sim­i­lar to what one might get from the state de­part­ment. Bor­ders said that the league’s se­cu­rity team has been work­ing with LiveSafe on the app for a while, and that it was not in re­ac­tion to any spe­cific threat to play­ers.

“We live in a com­pli­cated time. We live in a global en­vi­ron­ment,” Bor­ders said. “These young women are some of the best ath­letes in the world. They are cit­i­zens of that same world. They ex­pe­ri­ence cul­tures and con­flicts in the world. We al­ways want to make sure they are safe. They are our pri­mary stake­holder in the league.”

In­di­ana Fever star Marissa Coleman is in her third off­sea­son play­ing in Turkey. Last Jan­uary, she left the area near the Blue Mosque in Is­tan­bul mo­ments be­fore a sui­cide bomb­ing oc­curred there. “A guy walked by yelling bomb! Bomb!” Coleman re­called. “We thought he was toy­ing with us, so we left, and then my phone started buzzing. First thing I saw was a CNN up­date that there was a bomb out­side the Blue Mosque.”

AWE­SOME

She wel­comes the league’s se­cu­rity ini­tia­tive. “I think it’s awe­some. It’s great the league is do­ing that and show­ing they care,” Coleman said. “It does get scary over there. I’m home for the hol­i­days, but the last 10 days be­fore I came home we had three bomb­ings and the as­sas­si­na­tion of the am­bas­sador. It’s good to know the WNBA is on top of things and that if we need to get out of there quick, we can.”

Coleman said she’s be­come more wor­ried about her safety with more time in Turkey. “I’ve seen the pro­gres­sion of how things are es­ca­lat­ing. We stick out like sore thumbs. You can’t avoid cer­tain things, and it does make you ner­vous,” Coleman said. “I’m very hy­per aware, vig­i­lant of my sur­round­ings. You never know.” Seat­tle Storm for­ward Alysha Clark also has vast in­ter­na­tional play­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, spend­ing five years in Is­rael be­fore head­ing to Turkey this year. She was happy to have the league of­fer help.

“I’m glad the WNBA has in­tro­duced a new app that offers real-time so­lu­tions to ad­dress se­cu­rity and com­mu­ni­ca­tion needs for play­ers com­pet­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally,” she said. “It has cer­tainly given us ad­di­tional peace of mind.”

Bor­ders is proud that the WNBA is the first pro­fes­sional league to use the app to sup­port its play­ers out­side the U.S.

LiveSafe is used by a few NFL and MLB sta­di­ums. The com­pany has been around for 3 1/2 years and al­lows or­ga­ni­za­tions to cus­tom­ize within the plat­form. “We are pro­vid­ing the soft­ware and plat­form,” LiveSafe Pres­i­dent and CEO Carolyn Parent said. “Mo­bile brings a whole level of con­ve­nience. If you don’t know who to call or where do I go, the app and plat­form dy­nam­i­cally will know that. It will au­to­mat­i­cally route to the se­cu­rity team.” —AP

SEAT­TLE: In this April 21, 2016, file photo, WNBA pres­i­dent Lisa Bor­ders ap­plauds at a Seat­tle Storm news con­fer­ence in Seat­tle. — AP

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