What was Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams thinking?
If, and that's a big IF at the moment, the National Basketball Association can somehow avoid the postponements due to COVID-19 that Major League Baseball is already enduring less than a week into its hoped-for 60-game season, it might have Williams to thank for that miracle.
Not that the South Gwinnett (Georgia) High School product actually deserves any praise, should that happen.
In one of the most colossally stupid and selfish decisions a multimillionaire pro athlete could make in these perilous times, Williams decided to drop by a Big Peach strip club during an otherwise-excused trip home from the NBA's "bubble" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.
Then he compounded the problem by initially lying to the league about interacting with any entertainers at the club, saying he was only dropping by Magic City for its food.
No offense to Magic City, because I've never been there, but food is not usually on the list of things that draws pro athletes to strip clubs. Then again, a quick website check of Magic City's menu does contain a couple of pretty delectable looking photos of their menu offerings, including one wings entree known as Louwill Lemon Pepper BBQ.
Coincidence? I think not.
So maybe he really was only there to get a takeout order of his namesake wings. And because the since-deleted online photos of Williams with rapper Jack Harlow do show both men wearing masks, maybe this was all a bit overblown.
One side note: If you ever find yourself in need of someone to vouch for you, don't run to Harlow. It seems that when he realized his posting of the photo of him with Williams was a no-no, he quickly deleted it, then wrote on Twitter: "That was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him." Problem was, Williams was wearing a face mask with NBA logos on it that wasn't issued to him until he reached the league's "bubble." Can you say, "Uh-oh"?
But in the wake of at least 13 Miami Marlins testing positive over the past 40 hours or so for the coronavirus — a result that has forced the postponing of at least two MLB games and perhaps several more — one must also wonder if these pro athletes have any understanding of what they're dealing with, and how one person's screw-up could conceivably bring down an entire professional sports league.
To be fair to Williams, the NBA had allowed him to leave the bubble to attend the viewing of a close family friend who died. Until he went to Magic City, the trip was excused. But visiting the strip club and mingling with Harlow changed all that.
As Clippers coach Doc Rivers, the former Atlanta Hawks playing great noted upon hearing of Williams' 10-day quarantine for the incident: "You know, obviously those pictures got out, and that's something that we obviously didn't enjoy seeing or like."
With baseball opening this past week and the NBA due to restart this Thursday, there was beginning to be a lot to like about the possibility of professional sports returning to our lives. Now, in the wake of the Marlins, and the flippant, irresponsible behavior of Williams, perhaps not so much.
Merely consider this quote from New England Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty, a former Tennessee Titan, as the NFL prepares to begin fall camp:
"I'm not going to lie, for me as a fellow player, I go on social media and it makes me very nervous to think there will be a season," McCourty said Sunday night on a podcast. "I've seen guys posting a video in a nightclub, and it's just like, 'Yo, we're attempting to play football. That's not going to be OK.' You see guys working out in one city on a Monday, working out in another city on a Tuesday, and another city the next week, and it's just like, 'Dang, if they're working out here, here and here, that means you have to be traveling and you come across however many people.'"
Maybe the Marlins mess will make everyone more cautious. Maybe Williams' 10-day quarantine that will remove him from the Clippers' first two restart games will be a wake-up call to every pro athlete who believes the COVID-19 rules don't apply to them.
But as McCourty also said: "It only takes one person testing positive, you come into the building, and that (COVID-19) will spread like wildfire."
Just ask the Marlins.
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