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Rockets star James Harden handed $50,000 fine by NBA for health and safety violation

Rockets, James Harden

The NBA has slapped Houston Rockets star James Harden with a $50,000 fine for violating the league’s health and safety protocols.

The league announced the fine on Wednesday evening. In the official statement, the NBA reiterated that its protocols prohibit “among other things … attending indoor gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges clubs or similar establishments.”

The statement specified that the Rockets All-Star broke protocol when he attended an indoor party on Monday.

The penalty came after the league opened an investigation into James Harden’s behavior after a video circulated on social media showing the Rockets star partying with friends, initially reported to be at a strip club.

Harden denied that he was at a strip club and violated protocol. However, Harden is clearly socializing mask-less indoors with a group of people.

“One thing after another. I went to show my 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,” he wrote on his Instagram Story. “Everyday it’s something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can’t. The real always end up on top.”

Because he broke protocol, the NBA prohibited Harden from playing in the team’s season opener on Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After three more Rockets players—John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and K.J. Martin—were ruled out, too, over COVID-19 concerns, the game was postponed.

“Three Houston Rockets players have returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive for coronavirus under the NBA’s testing program,” the NBA announced in a statement. “Following the contact tracing protocol, four other players are quarantined at this time. Additionally, James Harden is unavailable due to a violation of the Health and Safety Protocols. All other Rockets players were tested again today, and all returned negative results. Houston has one additional player who is unavailable due to injury.”

It’s unclear how long Harden will be prohibited from playing. Houston’s next game is scheduled on Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.