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The Bundesliga’s Delicate Balancing Act

As humiliating clapbacks from reality go, the recent quarantining of the entire Dynamo Dresden soccer team probably doesn’t rise to the level of a COVID-19 outbreak inside the White House, but it’s still not a great look. I just plugged “shitty optics” into German Google Translate and got back Shitty-Optik, which feels wrong, but let’s go with it: Two Dresden players testing positive for the virus just a few days before play is set to resume in the top two tiers of German Fußball is a case of Shitty-Optik noteworthy even in a pandemic season not exactly hurting for bitter ironies. It’s Shitty-Optik almost on the order of Amazon’s stock price soaring 300 points during a month when 20 million Americans lost their jobs, if maybe marginally less consequential for humanity. The reopening of the Bundesliga this weekend was supposed to be a triumph, a visible emblem of the success of Germany’s rational and effective approach to limiting the spread of the coronavirus. The lesson was supposed to be that countries with well-managed public-health programs get to have sports. This is why sports-starved Americans are waking up at 4 a.

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