Houston Rockets star James Harden has been fined $ 50,000 by the NBA and was ruled “unavailable” for Wednesday’s game due to a violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols after the league reviewed video of him socializing masklessly at a club earlier this week.
The Harden will not be suspended.
By announcing that Wednesday night match against Oklahoma City Thunder was exposed, the NBA said Harden was “inaccessible due to a violation of health and safety protocols.” The Rockets did not have the league-required eight available players necessary to continue the game.
Harden tested negative for COVID-19 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, a league source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The video of the Harden partying maskless, which was published by Black Sports Online and has been circulating on social media, is reportedly from a law firm in Houston that was held this week.
The NBA’s COVID-19 protocol prohibits players from attending bars, lounges or clubs and from attending social gatherings with more than 15 people.
The league said Harden violated those rules when he attended a “private indoor party” Monday.
Harden has told NBA investigators he believed he complied with health and safety protocols, a source close to the situation told Shelburne. Harden and several witnesses at the event have told the league that he attended a seated dinner for a friend who had recently been promoted to work, the source told ESPN.
According to the source, Harden said he entered through a separate entrance and sat in a separate area of the room with his security detail and was wearing a mask. He took a picture with his friend and gave her a present. Harden, the source said, said he left after about 30 minutes and did not continue with the group, which later that night went to other places.
Harden posted a statement on Instagram on Wednesday, saying “every day is something different” and that the event was not in a strip club.
“One thing after another. I went to show my maid love at her event (not a strip club) because she’s becoming a boss and putting her people in a successful position, and now that’s a problem,” Harden said. in the position. “Every day it’s something different. No matter how many times people try to pull my name under you, it can not. The real end is always on top.”
It was unclear where the video of Harden was taken. ESPN and other media reported earlier Wednesday that the video was taken in a strip club.
According to the Health and Safety Protocols, failure or refusal to comply with a player’s disciplinary action by the NBA or his team, including a warning, fine or suspension, as well as being required to participate in an education or training. Repeated offenders may be subject to increased discipline.
Harden, who has asked to be traded, violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols during his brief holdout at the start of training camp when he attended rapper Lil Baby’s birthday party in Atlanta and visited Las Vegas clubs. The league required Harden to have six consecutive days of negative coronavirus tests before clearing him to practice with the Rockets.
Sources told ESPN that Harden had COVID-19 over the summer before the NBA season restarts, which is why he reported late to the league’s Walt Disney World bubble. Players who have recovered from coronavirus must still follow the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Rockets and Harden are awaiting notice from NBA medical personnel to determine how long a quarantine is required before clearing to return to the team.
For a game that has been missed due to a violation of COVID-19, players lose 1/72 of their salary under the league rules. Harden loses $ 572,985 $ pr. Missed game.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks contributed to this report.