NBA accused of hypocrisy after LeBron James ‘escapes ban’ despite violating Covid rules at tequila brand bash with rapper Drake
The former Cleveland and Miami icon was one of several A-list guests at a promo event for a tequilla brand he backs prior to the Lakers beating the Golden State Warriors to advance to the playoffs.
A league spokesperson confirmed that all-time great James was found to have breached health and safety protocols, but a source is now said to have told ESPN that he won't miss the crucial end-of-season showpiece because "the nature of the event didn't rise to a threat level of virus spread".
"The replies to this tweet are going to be a rollercoaster," predicted one onlooker in reference to a post that announced the development. And boy, did they get it right.
"Damn, so the rules apply to everyone but LeBron? Got it," asked one bemused critic, while another dubbed NBA boss Adam Silver 'LeAdamSilver', adding: "Rigged, rigged, rigged.
"I’m never watching the NBA again – LeAdamSilver bends rules at will,"
Another fumed: "I will stop watching this corrupt game until Lebron retires."
LeBron James won't be suspended for protocols violation, sources tell ESPN. Nature of event didn't rise to a threat level of virus spread, as described in @McTen's story below. Suns-Lakers Game 1 on Sunday. https://t.co/nEAcnBsbvv— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 22, 2021
Damn so the rules apply to everyone but LeBron got it.— Official🐐(X/48-24)And(0-0) (@Officialj0nn) May 22, 2021
As part of a brief outdoor photo shoot, invitees – including James, chart-topping megastar Drake and Black Panther actor Michael B Jordan – were reportedly told to provide proof of being vaccinated against the coronavirus or a recent negative Covid test result to gain entry.
Even with these tight measures, though, James fell foul of league rules, potentially leaving him open to warnings, fines and suspensions.
"It's a violation of the agreed upon protocols and, as we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team," a league spokesman confirmed.
I will stop watching this corrupt game until Lebron retires— waseem (@sawem470) May 22, 2021
"Everyone crying in the comments because if he was suspended, that gives their team a greater chance of winning the title," said a James supporter, referring to the playoffs.
"Uh, no – it’s more about the rules applying to every single player instead of picking and choosing who gets suspended and who doesn’t," came a reply.
"LeBron isn't the same as others," hit back a James fan account, telling his detractors to "cry".
Everyone crying in the comments Bc if he was suspended, that gives their team a greater chance of winning the title— be kind:)/ CAVS ~ COLTS (@_jjm2329) May 22, 2021
Uh no, it’s more about the rules applying to every single player instead of picking and choosing who gets suspended and who doesn’t.— EazYFlapjack (@FlapStacking) May 22, 2021
James, meanwhile, refuses to confirm whether he has been vaccinated.
"Anything I do off the floor is predicated to my family, for the majority – for 99.9 percent of that," James told the press.
"So it's about the health and safety of my family, and that's what it came down to.
"Me being available to my teammates on the floor is me taking care of my body. Me doing everything I can do to make sure I'm available both mentally, physically and spiritually, as well.
LeBron isn’t the same as others cry— ThtGoat (@Dee_Snuts_) May 22, 2021
LeBron won't confirm or deny that he got the COVID vaccine: "It's not a big deal."— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) May 21, 2021
"But anything of that nature, that's all family talk.
When directly asked whether he'd received the vaccine, James chuckled after saying: "It's not a big deal."
In March, before the All Star game, he had also said: "That's a conversation my family and I will have. I'll keep that to a private thing."
And perhaps until the 36-year-old puts suspicion to bed for once and for all, he will always be open to such criticism.Also on rt.com US chain challenged over freedom of speech after coffee shop owner is canceled for taking aim at NBA’s LeBron James on Facebook