James Harden Explained Why He Went To An Event ‘(Not A Strip Club)’ Maskless In A Since-Deleted IG Post

The ongoing James Harden trade saga appeared to go to another level this week. Harden, in a bit of footage that began circulating around the internet on Tuesday, was spotted maskless in a club, an instance that is becoming disturbingly common with the former league MVP who has made clear that he wants out of Houston.

Under normal circumstances, Harden going to events wouldn’t be a particularly big deal, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s brought him under a ton of fire. Even though he has already had COVID and has an immune system that is presumably able to mount a response against the virus, going to events is in violations of the NBA’s myriad of guidelines that look to put on a season amid the pandemic.

After news broke that the league and the Rockets are both looking into the event, Harden took to his Instagram in an attempt to clarify what happened. He made clear that he did not go to an event at a strip club, something that had been previously reported, and that he was showing “love to my homegirl at her event … because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it’s a problem.”

While it is certainly admirable to uplift the work a friend is doing, Tim MacMahon of ESPN and Sam Amick of The Athletic pointed out that this statement is essentially Harden admitting that he broke the COVID protocols laid out by the league.

MacMahon also noted that Harden ended up deleting the post from his Instagram.

Regardless of whether or not this is genuine or if Harden is just doing what he wants because he wants out of town, this is a gigantic headache for the Rockets and the league, the latter of which has to choose whether or not it would be worth making an example of one of its most prominent stars.