The Houston Rockets and the NBA are reviewing the video of James Harden partying without a mask at a strip club to determine whether he violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols, questioning the availability of the perennial All-Star for the opening of the season. Houston on Wednesday night, sources told ESPN.
The video, which was published by Black Sports Online and is circulating on social media, is allegedly from a strip club Christmas party in Houston this week. The Rockets and the league office are trying to verify that it is really a recent video, which would confirm that Harden violated the league’s protocols.
NBA COVID-19 protocols prohibit players from going to bars, salons or clubs and from participating in social gatherings with more than 15 people.
In accordance with health and safety protocols, non-compliance or refusal to comply may subject the player to disciplinary action by the NBA or its team, including warning, penalty and / or suspension, in addition to being required to participate in a session education or training. Repeated offenders may be subject to increased discipline.
A suspension would cost Harden $ 284,517 per game, which is 1/145 of his salary.
Harden, who asked to be traded, violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols during his brief resistance at the start of the training camp when he attended rapper Lil Baby’s birthday party in Atlanta and frequented clubs in Las Vegas. The league required Harden to have six consecutive days of negative coronavirus tests before releasing him to practice with the Rockets.
Sources told ESPN that Harden had COVID-19 during the summer before the NBA season resumed, which is why he was late to report to the Walt Disney World bubble. Players who have recovered from the coronavirus still need to follow the league’s health and safety protocols.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks contributed to this report.