Despite being a member of the Brooklyn Nets, it appears Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers still have unfinished business. Ben Simmons has filed a grievance for nearly 20 million dollars against the Philadelphia 76ers. The goal of said grievance is to reclaim all of the money that the 76ers fined Ben Simmons this year for his refusal to play and his refusal to show up to Philadelphia earlier in the season.
Ben Simmons missed 55 games this year for the Philadelphia 76ers alone. During that time, the 76ers went 33-22 without their All-Star point guard, with the team relying solely on how far the back of Joel Embiid could carry them. Ben Simmons got fined for every game he missed while dealing with his mental health and back issues.
Yet, every Sixers fan across the country knew that Ben was never going to play for the 76ers again, so the 76ers continued to look for a trade. Then they found one with the Brooklyn Nets. Now, thanks to the Ben Simmons trade, Joel is no longer alone, having superstar guard, who does shoot threes, James Harden, on his team, while Ben Simmons is still to play a game for the Nets.
The NBA Players Association is also supporting Ben Simmons’ claim against the 76ers. The reason appears to be to take a positive stance in the fight for mental health awareness. The NBAPA is right to try and generate awareness about the mental health of athletes, but doing with the Ben Simmons case would be going about it the wrong way.
This is not to speculate at all on Ben’s mental state — as nothing can be proven or disproven — and hopefully, he has found/is finding the help he needs, but if the NBA rules in favor of Ben’s grievance, it sets a terrible precedent.
If the NBA agrees with Simmons, then players requesting trades would start to make mental health claims, real or fake, to not have to show up for their teams while still knowing that they will collect their paychecks. There is no evidence that Ben Simmons is faking anything, which deserves to be said, but at the same time, just because he was dealing with things doesn’t mean he deserves to collect all 20 million dollars that he would have been paid if he was playing.
At the end of the day, Ben Simmons had a contract to do a job; to play basketball for the 76ers. A job he never fulfilled this season. Mental health is not something to be overlooked in any way, but in the case of Ben Simmons, there were many things that could have reduced the negative stigma around his trade request.
Simmons could have reported to training camp to avoid his first fines. He could have had conversations with the front office about his mental health and that he would be missing games for it. The simple truth is, Ben Simmons refused to play and expected to be paid, with nearly no conversation.