Despite an expected appearance in Game 4, Ben Simmons failed to make his debut for the Brooklyn Nets this season. The guard told team officials the night before the game that he was dealing with back soreness, pulling himself from the playoff game.
Without Simmons' reinforcements, the Nets fell to the Boston Celtics and were swept in the first round. Along with his team being swept, Simmons received a ton of criticism from icons throughout the NBA.
The comments were brutal. Kendrick Perkins referred to Simmons as “the single girl who smokes cigarettes.” Shaq called Simmons' Game 4 absence a “punk move.” Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Stephen A. Smith also joined in on the Simmons bashing.
There aren't really any NBA personalities that are trying to give the Nets guard the benefit of the doubt. However, there is one exception: Jay Williams.
The ESPN analyst and former Chicago Bulls point guard addressed the situation. He tweeted his stance on the situation Wednesday afternoon.
No more criticizing Ben Simmons. Leave the negativity alone and let’s rally around him to support his mental fight instead of cutting him down for polarizing statements, clicks & jokes. Let’s be better.. & I am talking to myself as well. No more. Enough. Let’s all be better. pic.twitter.com/oglCV5WLRA
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) April 27, 2022
“I had some very serious conversations yesterday…I am all about protecting Ben Simmons right now…It's apparent that something is going on, and I feel like it's my job and it's our job as a community to protect somebody that has openly announced that they are going through something mentally.”
Williams admitted that he joined in on some of the hate, but said he will work to better himself.
“I tacked on yesterday about what he wears and I am willingly, as somebody in the position with a platform, to say I was wrong. And I will work to be better by truly trying to understand how to give him the best environment for him to be the best version of himself because I want to see Ben Simmons win.”
This has to be a huge boost for the Nets guard, who has seen nearly nothing but slander the last few days. With all of the negativity thrown his way, it must help to know that at least someone outside of his group is rooting for his success.