LeBron James getting preferential treatment with COVID-19 protocols, whiny execs claim
Stop me if you’ve heard this: anonymous NBA executives are complaining about the Los Angeles Lakers. This time, it’s about the treatment LeBron James received after breaching the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
LeBron was publicly reprimanded (sort of) but did not face punishment for breaking protocols days before the Lakers’ play-in game against the Golden State Warriors. Last Friday, a league spokesperson told ESPN that James violated protocols by attending an outdoor event for his tequila brand alongside Drake and Michael B. Jordan.
Porzingis was fined $50,000 for visiting a strip club last Sunday. Porzingis has been fully vaccinated, though players are prohibited from attending indoor bars or clubs regardless of vaccination status, per the NBA’s protocols.
We still don’t know many of the details surrounding either player’s night out, and the constantly changing local, state, and federal regulations regarding COVID-19 further complicate the matters.
Last month, Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. was fined $50,000 for attending a strip club.
Still, a few rival executives were, predictably, upset with the inconsistency.
“It’s a given that LeBron, because of who he is, is going to get some things to go his way that don’t go that way for others,” an Eastern Conference executive told Bleacher Report. “The thing that I struggle with understanding is the whole point of having all these health protocols is to keep players safe, right? Why are there layers to this? If you spell out the rules and the players violate them, why would you (then) risk exposing them to their teammates?”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass shared a statement explaining the differing nature of the two events, noting that LeBron’s function was outdoors and required either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.
When reached for comment on difference between Porzingis-LeBron James‘ situation, NBA spokesman Mike Bass: “While we understand the inclination to compare this incident to protocol violations by other players, including LeBron James, those facts are very different." Statement: pic.twitter.com/MxbeDkVQz4
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 25, 2021
“The NBA is trying to have it both ways,” another executive said. “They are taking this [coronavirus] seriously; they have from the jump. But they want the players to not feel too restricted by the rules. What you wind up doing, you create more confusion to a process that’s already kind of confusing because everything changes so quickly when it comes to what you can do and what you can’t.”
James has yet to confirm whether he’s been vaccinated and the topic continues to be a source of speculation.
LeBron when asked about his left shoulder and the Chris Paul box out: "I'll be ready for Game 2."
LeBron when asked about the league's decision that he violated COVID protocols: "I'll be ready for Game 2."
— michael corvo (@_michaelcorvo_) May 23, 2021
On Monday, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, who has close ties to Klutch Sports, confidently claimed that the Lakers forward was vaccinated after the NBA’s press release.
Being around LeBron James for years, he’s always been private about his medical and never been one to endanger his family or teammates. This statements puts one thing to rest: he’s been vaccinated. https://t.co/Afiwc65fLh
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 24, 2021
The Lakers began the week by getting across the 85% vaccination threshold as a team, which requires 15 of 17 players to be vaxxed.