James Harden speaks out on images of him purportedly at strip club
The James Harden saga rages on for the Houston Rockets, and the superstar himself was compelled to push back at the latest seemingly damning development.
Photos and video surfaced this week that were purported to show Harden at a strip club and not following social distancing protocols such as wearing a mask.
The video of James Harden at the strip club— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 23, 2020
(Via @BSO ) pic.twitter.com/4LHIthYhxH
The footage is alleged to have been from an outing on Monday night, meaning that Harden likely would be ineligible to play in the Rockets’ season-opening game Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder according to NBA COVID-19 protocols.
Harden, however, has since taken to Instagram to respond. In a text-only dispatch, the disgruntled superstar disputes the veracity of the allegations against him. Specifically, Harden claims the footage was not from a strip club. Further, he goes on to defiantly insist he will not allow such unflattering narratives amid his trade demand bring him down.
James Harden responds pic.twitter.com/eaqw6VvEZI— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) December 23, 2020
Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported Wednesday morning that the NBA and Rockets officials are reviewing the footage to determine when it was filmed. If it was indeed recent, Harden would not be eligible to play Wednesday night.
Further consequences for Harden could be meted out by the NBA as well.
From the NBA health and safety protocols: Failure or refusal to comply with the protocols may subject players and team staff to disciplinary action by the NBA or his or her team which may include a warning, fine, and/or suspension.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 23, 2020
The per game amount for Harden is:— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 23, 2020
To say the ongoing Harden saga is devolving into a complete mess for the Rockets in the wake of his offseason trade demands would be an enormous understatement.
That said, the situation likely will continue in some form in Houston for now as the former MVP is expected remain with the Rockets at least in the short term. That said, anything could happen given the unpredictability of Harden and uncertainty that continues to surround the situation.
What’s arguably the strangest aspect of the entire narrative is how Harden apparently has not yet lost the Rockets’ locker room with his antics.
Whether this most recent incident — and Harden’s potential unavailability in the near future — impacts those dynamics of course remains to be seen. Odds are good it won’t help.