James Harden being irresponsible hurts the NBA’s reputation and so much more.
When the NBA restarted the 2019-2020 season, this writer was criticizing the league. How could they continue the season with everything going on? They’re putting the players, coaches, and the rest of the staff in danger. Well, this writer is big enough to admit when he’s wrong. The NBA should be commended for how they handled the Covid-19 pandemic. The bubble proved to be great. There were zero Covid-19 cases and players who didn’t want to participate weren’t chastised. It was beautifully done. Now, the 2020-2021 season has started and James Harden has taken all the good the NBA did last season and put a black eye on it.
It was originally reported that the NBA and the Houston Rockets were investigating James Harden for violating the Covid-19 protocols by going to a strip club. It was later discovered that he wasn’t at Magic City, Cheetah Lounge, or any of the popular gentleman’s clubs in Atlanta. He was at an indoor event for a friend (you can see in the video above). However, the event wasn’t the problem. Harden was still mask-less at an indoor event with seemingly zero social distancing. Thus breaking the NBA protocols. You’d assumed that breaking this rule would end in severe punishment. Especially since it’s putting people’s health and lives at risk. Well, you’d guess wrong.
James Harden’s fine was a joke
James Harden was fined $50,000 for violating the Covid-19 protocols. Now, that’s a lot of money. Even for someone like Harden who can spend that on a random night in Las Vegas. However, let’s put this into perspective. Kyrie Irving was fined $25,000 for not speaking to the media. Marcus Morris was fined $15,000 for criticizing a referee. In 2018, Mark Cuban was hit with a $600,000 fine for saying, “Look, losing is our best option.” Meanwhile, James Harden puts his teammates in jeopardy and all he received was a $50,000 fine. Not only does this not seem fair, but it’s a bad look for the NBA.
First, let’s look at what Karl-Anthony Towns went through. His mother and six other people close to him died from the Covid-19 virus. In regards to that, KAT had an emotional statement saying, “You’re talking to the physical me, but my soul has been killed off a long time ago.” Imagine how he’s looking at what James Harden did and his punishment. By not wearing a mask or social distancing, Harden is saying that he doesn’t care about the health of his teammates or his opponents. What happens if no one found out about this and he did catch Covid and someone got sick? An apology and $50,000 fine isn’t going to cut it.
James Harden’s irresponsibility will hurt the NBA
The NBA is looked at as the premier league when it comes to player relations. They have a union for current and retired players, they listen to their grievances, and they’re allowed to protest without the kind of criticism that NFL players receive. As incredible as that is, this joke of a fine is going to hurt the look of the NBA. People have been in their homes, social distancing, and following the rules. First responders are working and risking their lives to feed their families. But James Harden couldn’t be bothered to wear a mask. You can imagine a lot of people will have an opinion on how the NBA handled it. He wasn’t even given a suspension. Just a “slap on the wrist” and back to the games.
There’s also the hotline where people could call to say if they know someone who’s been violating the rules. The players have been calling it snitching. Which is hilarious since this isn’t snitching. If two players go out one of them tells on the other, that’s snitching. If someone’s putting another in danger of Covid and they’re following the rules, that’s not snitching. Avery Bradley’s son Liam Bradley has respiratory issues. Someone catches Covid because their nose was in a stripper’s thong and plays the Miami Heat, that player puts Bradley’s son at risk of death. Yes, it’s really that simple and Covid can be that deadly.
Is this shocking? Not at all.
At the end of the day, it feels like this comes down to money. James Harden is one of the NBA’s five premier players and a consistent NBA MVP candidate. He misses games and this hurts the NBA’s pockets. Now, had this been someone who isn’t as popular, there would have been a fine and a suspension. We’ve seen this happen on multiple occasions. Lebron James and Michael Jordan get a stern talking to for hard fouls. Meanwhile, Rasheed Wallace gets fines and technical fouls for dirty looks.
Hopefully, this won’t be something that happens often. Maybe James Harden’s $50,000 fine will be a wake-up call for himself and the rest of the NBA. His peers may have gone to him and told him what he did was messed up. Whatever happens, this writer hopes that it ends with no one risking the health of themselves or others.
What do you think? Was this fine enough? Let us know in the comments below.