The NBA fined Rockets star James Harden $50,000 for violating the league’s coronavirus protocols.
Why didn’t Harden get suspended?
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via ESPN:
The precedent is that discipline gets ratcheted up. And it’s Christmas. It was a first offense.
The entire point of the NBA’s coronavirus protocols is to keep players from contracting and spreading the virus .
However, Harden had coronavirus over the summer. That makes him especially unlikely to contract the virus again and spread it. One researcher said making antibodies from a case of coronavirus was akin to “an effective vaccine” as far as preventing reinfection.
So, it’s not that dangerous for Harden to party mask-less.
He’d obviously have that right in normal times. (Arriving late to training camp to instead party is another matter.) And the reason for restricting players now doesn’t really apply to him, at least not based on the science.
Harden did violate the protocols, which the players’ union agreed to. That’s why he got fined. Especially the midst of trying to get traded, Harden is also not a sympathetic figure.
But good for Silver not bending to a mob of people who want Harden punished more harshly just so they’ll feel better.