Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams will have to quarantine for 10 days inside the Orlando bubble after picking up food at a strip club in Atlanta during an excused absence for a family matter, the NBA ruled, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Williams is already back inside the bubble in Orlando, and began his quarantine on Saturday. He will miss the Clippers’ first two seeding games as a result of the quarantine, and forfeit up to $150,000 in salary, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Clippers re-open the season against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Williams left for a short time earlier this week to attend a funeral, but photos of him at a gentlemen’s club in Atlanta also appeared on social media. Rapper Jack Harlow posted a photo of himself and Williams late on Thursday night, showing them hanging out. Harlow quickly deleted the post, but not before it had been widely shared.
Harlow then tried to cover their tracks. “That was an old pick of me and Lou,” he wrote on Twitter. “I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him.” He quickly deleted that Tweet as well. With the evidence mounted against him, Williams told NBA security that he did in fact visit Magic City gentlemen’s club on Thursday night, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. However, he claims he was just there to pick up dinner.
Players who leave the bubble for excused absences, as Williams did, are required to quarantine for at least four days upon returning to Disney. That, however, is the minimum amount of time, and also requires that they return negative COVID-19 tests every day they are gone, and are not in any high-risk environments.
The Clippers were understandably upset with Williams’ decision, with head coach Doc Rivers saying on Saturday that he “didn’t enjoy” seeing it. Should Williams’ re-quarantine time be extended, he would likely miss at least the team’s first game back against the Los Angeles Lakers on July 30.
The NBA’s bubble environment has been successful so far because everyone has followed the procedures, but all it takes is one person slipping up like Williams for the COVID-19 to spread and get a bunch of people sick, and possibly even shut down the whole operation.
That’s why the league has been so diligent in its investigation, and also why it isn’t a surprise to see Williams get an extended 10-day quarantine period. Yes, it’s inconvenient for him and the Clippers, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when you’re dealing with a deadly virus.
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