James Harden has been fined $50,000 by the NBA for violating the league's COVID-19 protocols after video surfaced of him partying maskless at a club earlier this week. Frankly, Harden's punishment should have been harsher, but NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had several reasons for it being lighter and not including a suspension. One of them? Well, it's Christmas.
After violating protocols, Harden has been forced to to sit out this week as a precaution. Subsequently, his Houston Rockets had to cancel their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday because they didn't have enough players available -- though that's not entirely Harden's fault. Still, Harden knew the rules and willfully violated them.
Silver went on The Jump to discuss the punishment -- or lack of a harsher punishment -- with Rachel Nichols. He said since it was a first offense the punishment wasn't as severe, besides, it's Christmas!
Check it out:
Silver was obviously kidding a bit with the Christmas line but he's not wrong that the $50,000 is the limit of his ability to fine a player under the league's collective bargaining agreement. He can suspend players, which costs them much more in missed game checks.
If Harden keeps up his recent behavior, it won't be long until he's actually facing a lengthy suspension. We all know he wants out of Houston, but violating COVID protocols repeatedly isn't going to earn him any fans.