James Harden fined $50,000 after club video surfaced, sources say

HOUSTON, Texas -- James Harden has been fined $50,000 by the NBA after video showed the Houston Rockets star partying maskless at a club, which violated the league's COVID-19 protocols.

The video, which was published by Black Sports Online and has been circulating on social media, is purportedly from a Houston club's Christmas party held this week. The Rockets and the league office had to verify that the video was recent, which confirmed Harden violated the league's protocols.

The NBA's COVID-19 protocols prohibit players from going to bars, lounges or clubs and from participating in social gatherings of more than 15 people.

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Harden issued a statement on Instagram on Wednesday saying "everyday it's something different" and the event was not at a strip club.

"One thing after another. I went to show 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," Harden said in the post. "Everyday it's something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can't. The real always end on top."

It was unclear as of Wednesday evening where the video of Harden was taken. ESPN and other media outlets reported earlier Wednesday that the video was taken at a strip club.

According to the health and safety protocols, failure or refusal to comply could subject a player to disciplinary action by the NBA or his team, including a warning, fine and/or suspension, as well as being required to participate in an education or training session. Repeat offenders may be subject to enhanced discipline.

Harden, who has requested to be traded, violated the league's COVID-19 protocols during his brief holdout at the beginning of training camp when he attended rapper Lil Baby's birthday party in Atlanta and frequented Las Vegas clubs. The league required Harden to have six consecutive days of negative coronavirus tests before clearing him to practice with the Rockets.

Sources told ESPN that Harden had COVID-19 during the summer before the NBA season restart, which is why he was late reporting to the league's Walt Disney World bubble. Players who have recovered from the coronavirus are still required to follow the league's health and safety protocols.

ESPN's Bobby Marks contributed to this report.
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