James Harden fined $50K after alleged strip club visit played role in game postponement

The NBA has fined James Harden after video surfaced allegedly showing him attending a strip club without a mask in violation of the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.

The NBA announced the decision Wednesday evening, shortly after the Houston Rockets’ season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed because COVID-19 issues left the team without enough available players.

“Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been fined $50,000 for violating the league’s Health and Safety Protocols, which among other things prohibit attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments,” a league statement reads. ... “Harden violated these rules when he attended a private indoor party on Monday, Dec. 21.”

Rockets too shorthanded to play season opener

Harden was one of several Rockets players unavailable to play on Wednesday. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Kenyon Martin Jr. and Jae’Sean Tate were reportedly ruled out because of COVID-19 contact tracing unrelated to Harden’s violation.

Wall, Cousins and Martin met for haircuts in an apartment away from team facilities, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

ARCHVIO.- En foto del 12 de septiembre del 2020 James Harden de los Rockets de Houston discute en el partido ante los Lakers de Los Ángeles. El martes 8 de diciembre del 2020 el nuevo coach de los Rockets Stephen Silas confirma que Harden regresó a la ciudad y se sometió a los protocolos de COVID-19 de la NBA. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Video surfaced on social media apparently showing Harden attending a strip club without a mask.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Harden denies he visited strip club

Harden acknowledged attending an “event” in a since-deleted Instagram post, but denied that it took place at a strip club.

“One thing after another. I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it’s a problem,” Harden wrote.

“Every day it’s something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can’t. The real always end on top.”

Harden is starting the season in a dispute with the Rockets amid reported trade demands. A makeup date for the postponed Rockets-Thunder game has not been set.

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