Lou Williams should not have been allowed to return to the NBA bubble after his activities in Atlanta. The Los Angeles Clippers guard's decision to spend time at a strip club after attending a funeral should have been grounds for a suspension by the league. Even if he was just having food at Magic City with rapper Jack Harlow, it was supremely irresponsible. By letting him return, the NBA is tacitly condoning his actions.
The NBA went to Orlando and put itself in a bubble in order to finish the 2019-20 season and crown a championship. Those actions were taken to prevent another shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone knew the stakes, yet for some reason Williams didn't seem to care.
It's infuriating to think that if Williams hadn't been caught in a photo on Harlow's Instagram, he likely wouldn't have faced the league's harshest quarantine protocols once he returned. Instead, the photo leaked and he had to own up to his behavior. If that hadn't happened and he had been exposed to the virus, he could have brought it into the bubble and potentially infected others. He could have put other players in danger by being reckless.
Every player who entered the NBA's Orlando bubble knew the deal when they arrived. They had to follow the rules, they had to keep each other in check, and they had to be responsible if they wanted the season to actually get finished. Williams left the bubble still knowing he had to be smart outside of it. He chose not to be. Allowing him back with only a 10-day quarantine sends a horrible message.
Frankly, if Doc Rivers or the Clippers had any stones they'd suspend Williams for the season. Of course, they know they likely couldn't win a championship without him, so they'll welcome him back with no punishment. Again, it's wildly irresponsible.
I get that Williams apparently "loves the wings" at Magic City and wanted to eat at his favorite spot in Atlanta, but he could have picked the food up or ordered takeout. Even if we take him at his word that he just had dinner there, it was a ridiculous choice. Other NBA players are sacrificing time with their families (Alex Caruso missed his sister's wedding!), Lou could have gone a few months without wings from a strip club.
Here's the thing: I really like Lou Williams. I love his story as a basketball player. He's fought hard for everything he's ever gotten and has never been handed anything. Years ago I even wrote a feature on his old high school coach, Roger Fleetwood, when I worked for a local paper in Indiana. Fleetwood was proud of what Williams had become as a player but positively gushed when he talked about him as a person. The 33-year-old has turned himself from a second-round pick and a D-Leaguer to a legit offensive force in the NBA and the three-time Sixth Man of the Year.
With all of that said, Williams should have been done for the season when his trip to the strip club became public. Again, it sends a horrible message to allow a player to leave quarantine and act completely irresponsibly, then just let him right back in. What's to stop another player from doing the same thing now?
The NBA should have taken a hard stance against Williams' actions, instead it just rolled over.