Rockets’ James Harden Fined $50K for Health and Safety Protocol Violation

Rockets’ James Harden Fined $50K for Health and Safety Protocol Violation

Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

James Harden has reportedly been fined before his 2020-21 season even started.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Houston Rockets star was fined $50,000 for violating the NBA‘s health and safety protocols in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This news comes after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported Harden would have been “unavailable due to violation of health and safety protocols” for Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Rockets and Harden are awaiting word on NBA medical staff to decide on how long of a quarantine will be necessary before he’s cleared to return to the team. Besides the 50K fine for violating protocol, Harden will lose $284K in salary for each missed game.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Harden will be docked a game check for every contest he misses:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Update: Sources say NBA is docking 1/72 of a player’s salary for each game missed due to a violation of the league’s COVID protocols

So James Harden would have lost $567,000 had Houston played tonight. He will forfeit that amount if he misses any games due to future violations

Charania reported that game was postponed because three Rockets players tested positive or inconclusive for COVID-19 while four more were quarantined as a result of contact tracing.

Harden created controversy by attending a gathering without a mask, and the NBA investigated the incident after pictures circulated online.

He posted a message on his Instagram page explaining his perspective on the situation:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

James Harden posts a response on his IG.

Houston and the NBA are reviewing video of Harden maskless at a gathering to determine if it was recent enough to violate COVID-19 protocol, per @espn_macmahon https://t.co/L1XjkQbah9

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported the Arizona State product told the NBA he was under the impression he followed health and safety protocols and did his best to avoid crowds by sitting in a different area than other guests, using a separate entrance and leaving after approximately 30 minutes.

That explanation clearly wasn’t enough for the NBA given this punishment, although Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported the league elected not to suspend the three-time scoring champion.

Stein added more context:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Harden was not suspended in addition to the fine because violating the league’s health and safety guidelines invokes an additional quarantine period for players

The extra quarantine mandates those players will be docked game checks for any games missed while they are held out

According to the rules the NBA put in place for this season, players “may be subject to a proportionate adjustment to pay for any games missed during the period that the player is in quarantine and undergoing testing due to engaging in such activities and/or conduct.”

Houston is scheduled to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday in what will now be its season-opener if the game takes place.

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