By Stefan Djordjevic/ email@example.com
The video is reportedly from a Houston strip club’s Christmas party held this week. The NBA’s COVID-19 protocols prohibit players from going to bars, lounges or clubs and from participating in social gatherings of more than 15 people.
If proven true, Harden would be subject to disciplinary action. A potential suspension would cost Harden $284,517 per game, which is 1/145th of his salary.
Harden, who has requested to be traded, violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols during his brief holdout at the beginning of training camp when he attended rapper Lil Baby’s birthday party in Atlanta and frequented Las Vegas clubs. The league required Harden to have six consecutive days of negative coronavirus tests before clearing him to practice with the Rockets.
Harden responded to the whole situation via his Instagram: “One thing after another. I went to show my love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it’s a problem. Everyday it’s something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can’t. The real always end up on top.”
Harden has also told NBA investigators he believed he was in compliance with NBA health and safety protocols.
Nonetheless, the NBA declared Harden “unavailable due to violation of health and safety protocols,” for the game against the Thunder while it is still unclear to both Harden and the Rockets how long he’ll be unavailable or whether he’ll face league punishment.
Outside of Harden’s case, the Rockets were missing several players for the opener including John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins due to coronavirus contact tracing, as well as Ben McLemore who tested positive a few days earlier, which led to the postponement of the game vs Oklahoma.