Ben Simmons and Setting an Example for Pro Athletes


Courtesy of AP Photo / Matt Rourke

On Oct. 19, Simmons was thrown out of practice for being a distraction to the team.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

If a student received a 34.2% on an exam, would he or she be considered successful?  Absolutely not. A professor surely would fail Ben Simmons’s for this free throw percentage in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

The Simmons saga is angering the city of Philadelphia, since he has barely taken responsibility for his role in the Sixers loss in the playoffs. Despite basketball being a team game, when the team’s star player does not play well, he is responsible for shouldering some of the blame.

Before the origin of the saga, the Sixers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference and dispatched the Washington Wizards in five games in the first round Eastern Conference playoff series. However, the Eastern Conference Semifinals playoff series against Atlanta was the beginning of the end for Simmons. 

Simmons struggled mightily in the series. The most popular moment was when Simmons infamously passed up a wide-open layup with 3:30 to go in a win-or-go-home Game 7 in the Atlanta series. It continued to get worse, as Simmons only converted 15 out of 45 free throws, which amounts to 33%. 

This free throw percentage was the worst in history for an NBA player with at least 70 attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Yet Simmons continues to distract a Sixers team that is aspiring for an NBA championship. He refuses treatment from the Sixers physicians over his mental health, per NBC Sports Philadelphia, and continues to harm the team in his path.

This has forced the Sixers to once again fine Simmons $360,000 last Friday for every game he has missed until he “cooperates with team physicians on his mental health issues and fulfills other basketball-related obligations,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

I completely agree with the Sixers here because Simmons is failing to provide any details about his mental health progress to the team. The administration should hit him where it hurts with his game checks and overall salary.

The team is doing just that. The Sixers placed Simmons’s overall salary in escrow, meaning that a third party distributes the money for the transacting parties, depending on if the conditions are met. The Sixers already withheld $8.25 million that Simmons was owed on Oct. 1.

Simmons is failing to work with the NBA mental health professionals. This prompted the Sixers to fine him because of his “refusal to provide basic details of the course of mental health meetings, evaluation or treatments or to accept consultation with any specialists arranged by the team,” according to ESPN.

Simmons’ refusal to grow as a player and support his team is immature and wrong. He is part of the team and until or if he gets traded, he needs to act like a professional. He needs to keep the team updated on his mental health issues and come back to play as soon as possible.

The Sixers stopped fining Simmons on Oct. 22 after a team meeting when Simmons told the team he was mentally unable to play.

On Oct. 19, Simmons was thrown out of practice for being a “distraction” and the Sixers suspended him a game for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Simmons has not shown any indication that he will return to the team, and head coach Doc Rivers said he has “no idea” when Simmons will return, via NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Where do the Sixers go from here?  The Sixers seem just fine without Simmons, as they have earned a 7-2 record and lead the Eastern Conference standings, as of last Saturday. The Sixers won five straight games before Saturday’s games were played.

Simmons is a three-time all-star, two-time all-defensive player and rookie of the year. Let him sit on the bench and be fined $360,000 per game. He must learn how to act as a professional and deal with the criticism of not playing well in the playoffs.