There is no hiding anymore, not in the era of social media. It doesn’t help when you’re 7’3″, as Dallas’ Kristaps Porzingis is.
Sunday night Porzingis went to a club, images ended up on social media, and Tuesday the NBA brought the hammer with a $50,000 fine for “violating the rule prohibiting players from going into any bar, club, lounge, or similar establishment, regardless of the player’s vaccination status.”
“What happened was obviously a mistake on my part. I was honestly confused about the protocols,” Porzingis said after the Mavs win Tuesday night, adding he was glad he got to play in the game and didn’t face any quarantine.
“We have addressed it internally,” Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlise said before the game about the situation. “We obviously accept the League’s ruling/statement, and other than that we have no comment on the matter.”
Porzingis did not face any quarantine time and played a critical role, scoring 20 points in the Mavericks win Tuesday that puts them up 2-0 in that series.
As soon as the fine came down, cries quickly followed on NBA Twitter, “LeBron James wasn’t fined when he went to a public event without a mask.” The NBA released one statement about that, and spokesman Mike Bass had an answer for that, via Shams Charania of The Athletic.
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
This quote is consistent with what a league source told NBC Sports after LeBron was not fined or quarantined: The league looks at each case of a violation of league protocols — and there are a lot of them — and judges it for the danger it presents. Is going to a club with no testing or vaccination requirements the same as going to an outdoor event where testing/vaccination is required? No.
The NBA’s big fear remains a critical player ends up missing time during the playoffs due to the coronavirus, altering a series. It hasn’t happened yet, but there are a lot of playoffs left.