NBA player fined $50,000 for breaking league's COVID-19 rules
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The NBA on Tuesday announced that it had issued a $50,000 fine against Dallas Mavericks player Kristaps Porzingis for violating the league's COVID-19 rules by visiting a club over the weekend.  

In a statement shared on Twitter, Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations, said the league levied the fine against the Mavericks’ center for breaking the “rule prohibiting players from going into any bar, club, lounge, or similar establishment, regardless of the player’s vaccination status.”

The statement said Porzingis visited a club on Sunday, and while he faces a monetary fine, the NBA said it had determined “in consultation with medical experts, and based on all the facts and circumstances” that his outing “did not create risks related to the spread of COVID-19 and therefore no quarantine is necessary.”

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ESPN reported that Porzingis, who has been fully vaccinated, briefly visited a Los Angeles strip club, according to sources who spoke to the news outlet.

The penalty prompted fans and sports reporters to raise questions on why the NBA decided not to fine or suspend Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James after the league said he violated health and safety protocols by attending a promotional event for a tequila brand he invests in.

An NBA spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill, “While we understand the inclination to compare [Porzingis'] incident to protocol violations by other players, including LeBron James, those facts are very different.” 

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"LeBron briefly attended an outdoor event related to an individual commercial activity where everyone was either required to be vaccinated or return a negative Covid test,” the spokesperson added. “The league reviews each potential protocol violation on a case-by-case basis, and determines quarantines and imposes discipline based on the individual facts and circumstances of each matter."

While the NBA has kept in place many of its coronavirus-era guidelines, it has relaxed some protocols for fully vaccinated individuals, including fewer mandated coronavirus tests and quarantine requirements following possible exposure to the virus. 

The Associated Press reported Sunday that NBA head coaches who have been fully vaccinated will no longer have to wear masks during games, in line with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Updated at 9:50 p.m.