The NBA put Covid guidelines in place to keep their players safe. Yet, when LeBron James broke those rules, the league chose not to discipline him.
Before LeBron and the Lakers took on the Warriors in a play-in game to clinch the 7-seed in the NBA playoffs, James attended a promotional event for the Lobos 1707 tequila company. James is a shareholder in the tequila brand and was one of several celebrities, including actor Michael B. Jordan and rapper Drake, to attend the promotion.
However, even though the event required proof of vaccination or a negative test, James’ appearance still violated league Covid rules.
“It’s a violation of the agreed upon protocols,” a league representative told ESPN, “and, as we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team.”
However, in a statement released by NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass, the league said they ultimately chose not to discipline their most popular player because James’ appearance didn’t “create risks related to the spread of COVID-19.”
“To clarify any remaining misconception, LeBron James briefly attended an outdoor event last week where participants were required to be vaccinated or return a negative test result,” the statement read. “Under these circumstances and in consultation with medical experts, it was determined that his attendance did not create risks related to the spread of COVID-19 and therefore no quarantine was necessary. Over the course of this season, there have been numerous similar violations of the league’s Health and Safety Protocols, which were addressed with the player’s team in a similar fashion.
“Under current NBA rules, vaccinated players are permitted to engage in outside activities including their individual commercial arrangements, such as sponsor appearances or ad shoots.”
NBA Statement: pic.twitter.com/WBdU6vdR4Q
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 24, 2021
It’s unclear why the NBA initially claimed James had violated the rules if he had, in fact, not violated the rules.
Over the weekend, NBA legend and TNT analyst Charles Barkley claimed that the NBA lacked the “balls” to suspend LeBron James.