This story was updated on Wednesday, December 23 at 7:33 p.m.
James Harden will not be suspended for partying maskless at an event with strippers. The team and league conducted an investigation into Harden’s activities after a video of the event made its way around the internet.
Harden was fined $50,000 for his “violation of health and safety protocols.”
Early in the day, internet detectives set about determining when the video was of Harden was taken to determine if he was, indeed, in violation of COVID protocols.
The Houston Chronicle did some sleuthing of its own and found that the video was presumably made early this week.
From its report:
The 41-second video in question shows Harden receiving Dior luggage as a present. Another clip in the video shows people dancing in the club and a video screen in the background says “Selective Group.” That group’s Instagram page, which has been changed to private, had been promoting the Selective Group Winter Ball scheduled for Monday night.
Harden took to IG to respond to reports that he violated the NBA’s COVID protocols.
According to The Chronicle, the party was not in a strip club… although...ummm... I can see why one might be confused. Instead, it was held at an event space near downtown Houston, a mile or so away from the Rockets arena. Harden wasn’t wearing a mask and, based on his Instagram post, is not disputing the belief that the party was recent.
The eight-time all-star has been in constant trade rumors for weeks and has reportedly been open to getting out of Houston.
Updated on Wednesday, December 23, at 5:30 p.m.: This just in, the Rockets’ opener scheduled for tonight has already been scrapped due to COVID.