The jokes are flying, but there is more to consider. First: Nobody officially said if it was a romantic encounter. Second: the decision of the House. Look, Bubble is mentally exhausted. The players have been here for a long time. Whatever their social lives looked like before the epidemic, you can be sure that they were more fun than being in a bubble. There are moments of panic, but almost no one makes a public complaint, because everyone understands this: This is not where anyone wants to be, and yet they are lucky to be here. Many people feel very bad about this.The NBA had no choice but to send him home. Rules are rules, and these rules are here to protect everyone. These are not suggestions or requests. If the NBA allowed the House to stay, what would prevent a dozen other players from bringing guests? A bubble with a hole is not a bubble. The NBA has spent $ 170 million on the experiment. It cannot afford to blow the whole thing up because one player becomes lonely.
The housemates are not victims. The Rockets are not victims of anything except LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Each team has obligations to the league and to each other. If the Rockets are insane, they must be insane in the House.
The NBA made the right call — the only call, really. But let’s also admit: It’s too short, awkward and inconvenient for a league to tell the world that a player had someone in his hotel room who shouldn’t have. House is a professional athlete, not a religious leader or political figure. His personal life is, in ordinary times, undeniably his.
Imagine, a year ago, the NBA announced that a player was caught with someone in their hotel room. We would have thought it was crazy.
Well, it’s 2020. Like a strange year, as you may have heard.
The problem is not with the NBA’s decision, which was absolutely correct, but in its announcement. Why not just say that the House violated the bubble protocol, and leave it at that? Why say he was “over several hours” in his hotel room? Does the public really need to know this?
Some references: Yahoo! Sports had already reported that the house had allowed “a female COVID-19 testing officer” to visit her room. The NBA generally strives for transparency in everything from discipline to its final two-minute report. The instinct to share information and explain what happened is commendable.
Also, the NBA did not reveal who the guest was. But those dots are so close together, they can form an ellipse. Whoever is paying attention – who, supporting one person, will include House’s friends and family – will read the league’s statement and assume that he had a partner who was not his wife.
There are reasons for the details in the NBA statement. I don’t think the reasons are good enough. And this may not be a big thing, but with the world shaking too much on a daily basis, it’s important to remember the values we had before all of this started.
The best and most well-known union representative in American sports history, Marvin Miller of the Major League Baseball Players Association, raided the 90s against the notion that MLBs could do drug-tests. They considered it a terrible invasion of privacy.
I did not agree with Miller on that, but his big point was valid. Sports leagues are highly visible operations, but these are still employer-employee relationships. The NBA had to be voted out of the House, and declared that the House had violated protocol. This was not to say how.