Posted Up - How Ben Simmons skipped town on the 76ers, leading to $25K fine

Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill joined the Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast to discuss the league’s decision to fine Philadelphia and how Simmons’ departure during quarantine could be connected to his absence from Saturday’s game against the Nuggets. Hear the full conversation on the Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

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CHRIS HAYNES: Vince, we reported, you know, that the NBA were investigating Philly. Because what happened was, to make a long story short, and we'll kind of get into it, but long story short as of right now, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons did not play in that game. And Ben Simmons, in particular, he was not ruled on the-- well, he was not included on the injury report leading up to that game. Joel Embiid was. But those two sat out.

It left people to wonder. What's going on? Why is Ben Simmons, when there is all these? In that game, there was a lot of COVID tracing going on. And so we didn't know if they were going to have enough players, talking about Philly, that is. And on top of that, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons sits out the game, when they really need players to play. So they ended up having eight active, but only seven were available.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Mike Scott was the actual injured player who was suited up. But we knew he wasn't going to play.

CHRIS HAYNES: OK. So he didn't play. Ben Simmons didn't play. Joel Embiid didn't play as well. And so all we also reported, and the NBA has since put out a statement, that Philadelphia was fined $25,000 this morning for their handling of Ben Simmons, not including them on the injury report, and then sitting him out in that game. And also, he was going to be-- he's sitting out for this game tonight against Atlanta.

Vince, the Philly game, I want to touch on that. Can you talk about that game? And you know, you were kind of close to the situation over there. Just break down what happened and what you learned.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Because, you know, we often hear scuttlebutt, gossip, you know, things of that nature. I think this traces back to the Seth Curry diagnosis of COVID-19, when he had to basically be pulled out of the game at halftime. Usually, in that case, Chris, I think the results came back a little bit quicker. So it wasn't like they came back late. I think these results came back quicker, where usually, Seth probably would have played the whole game. The results came back a little bit quicker from the lab in New York. He got pulled from the bench. You got to see him not play later in the second half of that game.

So the 76ers decided that night, we are going to stay in New York while everything gets sorted out. What I have gathered was that Ben Simmons left New York that evening. He left New York and went back to Philadelphia, you know, apparently probably hired a driver from a service. I don't think Ben Simmons was out here in a regular old, you know, Hyundai Sonata or nothing like that, you know what I'm saying? On the car service, I believe it was probably something reputable.

The team clearly found out. Here's the one thing that we do know. Chris, because of the restaurant protocols and everything else, there's certain restaurants and places that you can't go to. There are no restaurants in New York City that are approved. So if a team is staying in New York City, they have to stay there. Apparently, Ben Simmons said, nah, I'm out. I'm headed out. Got a driver, went back to Philly.

I believe the team found out, and I believe team security, as you know, you know, team security knows these things. They're like the CIA. Ben Simmons has to come back. And magically, or however you want to say it, he winds up on the injury report the next day, you know, not playing. Now who knows how you want to connect the dots That's not-- that's not for us to do here on the Posted Up podcast. We are just going to present the water for you and allow you to drink it.

And all of a sudden, you get this information today, where the 76ers are being fined 25,000 for failing to put Ben Simmons on the injury report. The thing that strikes me about this, Chris, is that Ben Simmons was listed as day-to-day with this injury yesterday. He was listed as day-to-day. He did not make the trip to Atlanta for their game tonight. So if he's not playing with an injury that no one can actually point to him being hurt, what is this absence really about? It looks a little curious to me, does it not?

The team gets fined. The league investigates a player for an injury that did not occur, and the player is out for a road game under the guise of an injury that nobody can actually find. It just looks a little-- it's a little funny to me.

CHRIS HAYNES: You know, I made some calls as well. And I heard very similar, very similar situation from what you're explaining right now, Vince. So I call, and you know, I was told, that's not the case. This is my 10th year covering the league. And the older I get, the more irritated I get when people lie to me, man. You know what I mean? Like, I just can't-- like, I have my-- my tolerance level is really low when it comes to that.

I was told, OK, if that didn't happen, if that wasn't the case, then all right, then I would suspect that Ben would be available to play on Monday. Because I called you, and I said, I don't think it's really a story, Vince, unless he doesn't play Monday. He's not playing Monday. I trust what you're saying, Vince, because I've heard-- you know, I heard something similar. It's mighty fishy.

We're talking about the fine, the $25,000 fine, in which Philly was fined. OK, that's fine, but was that? Well, let's just leave it at that. Let's just leave at they were fined in Philadelphia.

VINCENT GOODWILL: But you're going to ask me, was the fine enough? Is 25--

CHRIS HAYNES: Was it enough?

VINCENT GOODWILL: Is 25,000 enough of a deterrent? You know what 25,000 says to me? When you fine a team 25, as opposed to a player 25, it says, I know you did something wrong. I can't prove it all the way that I want to prove it, and I also don't want to put all these other different people in these awkward situations, because we're dealing with COVID. It's almost like a level of humanity.

You grew up around other Black folks, other Black cousins. You know what I mean? If one person did something wrong, and nobody snitched, everybody kind of got like, you know, you got punished in some way, whether it was go sit on the corner, or you know, stick your hand out, whatever it is. You know what I mean? If nobody tells, everybody gets it, right?

I'm not saying that's quite the case here. But what I am saying is, the league knows this is tricky. You can't allow a team to do what the 76ers did. But you also understand why they did what they did. I believe the 76ers probably-- I believe the league probably wants to go harder at Ben Simmons, but because they can't prove anything, you're going with-- you get the team. You knock the team. You knock the team for not-- I won't say controlling the player. But you knock the team for not being honest about the situation. But they-- you know, you want-- you want Ben. I think they want Ben Simmons. I think they want him, but they can't-- they can't find-- there's no real, real paper trail. Some-- somebody ain't snitching.