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Presidential Debate In Miami Faces Challenges, Black Lives Matter and The Latino Community And The Heat's Team Doctor

Trump-Biden debate.jpeg
Patrick Semansky
AP Photo
In this combination image of two photos showing both President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.

The second presidential debate scheduled to be in Miami next week has been upended. How the Black Lives Matter movement is viewed among some Latino groups in South Florida. And a conversation with the Miami Heat's team doctor.

On this Thursday, Oct. 8, episode of Sundial:

Democratic Presidential Debate and Phase 3 Florida Reopening

Next week’s scheduled presidential debate in Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts has been placed in jeopardy. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday morning that the candidates needed to join the debate remotely, citing President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis and concerns over virus spread.

During an interview on Fox News Thursday morning, President Trump said he will not participate in the debate if it’s virtual, calling the format a “waste of time.”

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The Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden initially agreed to take part in the virtual town hall debate. However, the Biden campaign said in a written statement they would instead take questions directly from voters in a separate event, after the President declined to take part in the town hall.

The campaign also called for the debate to be postponed for a week, to Oct. 22, “so that the president is not able to evade accountability.”

Greg Allen is an NPR national correspondent based in Miami. He explained there were a number of considerations for moving the event virtual, on top of the safety concerns with the president still recovering from the virus.

“After the last debate was roundly criticized as a total failure, maybe the worst presidential debate in history. The commission was somewhat chagrined and they put out a statement shortly after the debate that some changes would need to come forward. They said this morning that the changes would be that the two candidates would be in remote locations but the audience and moderator would be in the same place.”

We spoke with Allen about the fate of the presidential debate in Miami as well as his reporting on the politics of mask enforcement in Florida.

Black Lives Matter and Latinos

Latino voters have consistently raised the Black Lives Matter movement as a critical issue ahead of the November election. However, perspectives on the movement vary greatly depending on the politics, cultural heritage and generational identities of Latinos in South Florida.

In recent months, there’s been a series of publications and radio shows that have spread misinformation and racist material about in Spanish media markets. In this week’s Latin America Report, WLRN's Americas editor Tim Padgett explored the history of racial justice movements in Latin America and how they’re informing some of the politics of Latinos in South Florida.

Miami Heat Team Doctor Harlan Selesnick

The Miami Heat face the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Friday night. The team is down 3-1 in the series and faces elimination. Injuries have plagued the Heat throughout the series, with center Bam Adebayo and point guard Goran Dragic getting hurt in Game 1.

Adebayo was able to return Tuesday night for Game 4 but Dragic remains questionable for Game 5. For Miami Heat team doctor Harlan Selesnick, this has been a tough series to watch. He wasn’t with the team in the early stages of the playoffs but was able to make it into Orlando for the NBA Finals.

“When it comes to the playoffs, it tends to be important to have your own team physician there to make sure that it’s safe for your player to play. Someone is not pulled out that could play. Someone who has a laceration doesn’t take too long to have it sutured.“

We spoke with Selesnick over the summer about the safety precautions for NBA players in the bubble and some of his favorite memories over the past 33 years as the doctor for the Miami Heat.

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.