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The NBA Fined James Harden $50,000 For Violating Its COVID-19 Health And Safety Protocols

James Harden had come under fire in recent days after a video showed him maskless at some sort of event in Houston. While initial reports claimed he was at a strip club, Harden claimed that was not the case, and he was at a venue celebrating the business successes of a friend.

Of course, while some people were hung up on the strip club element of this, the real issue was that Harden went somewhere without a mask. Even though he had previously tested positive for and beaten COVID-19, the league announced on Wednesday that The Beard was, indeed, in violation of its health and safety protocols put forth for the upcoming season.

The news came in the midst of a press release regarding the Houston Rockets’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder getting postponed due to the team’s inability to field a roster because of a myriad of positive COVID tests and close contacts.

It had previously been announced that both the NBA and the Rockets would investigate the video of Harden, which popped up on the site Black Sports Online. It is unclear what role Harden played in incriminating himself here — he posted a statement to his Instagram account explaining what happened and gave away that he did, indeed, go out maskless — nor is it clear if he will face any sort of punishment. As Steve Aschburner of NBA.com wrote out after the protocols were released, “Players violating the safety guidelines may face a loss of pay proportionate to any lost availability due to quarantines or reinstatement steps. Other penalties may include formal warnings, fines, suspensions or educational sessions.”

UPDATE: The league later announced that Harden would be fined $50,000 for the violation, on top of any game checks he loses while in quarantine — which the league is still determining.

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