Lou Williams’ visit to an Atlanta strip club will result in the L.A. Clippers guard facing a 10-day quarantine in his hotel room on the NBA’s “bubble” campus at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Williams left Orlando on an excused absence to attend the funeral of his grandfather Friday in Atlanta.

However, Williams came under fire Friday evening when rapper Jack Harlow posted a photo that appeared to show himself and Williams at a club. Williams later confirmed that they were at Magic City, a famous restaurant and strip club in Orlando. While the internet was quick to subject Williams to harsh criticism, he claimed–and an NBA investigation confirmed–that he arrived at the club early in the evening following the funeral and stayed only briefly as he awaited his to-go order.

In addition to its status as a well-known strip club, Magic City is also known by Georgians for its food, and Williams has a well-documented history of having an affinity for Magic City’s wings, calling it his favorite restaurant.

NBA players who leave the Orlando bubble with league approval, such as the approval Williams was granted to attend his grandfather’s funeral, are subject to variable quarantine upon re-entry to the league’s campus. This variable quarantine can last from 4 to 14 days, depending on a number of factors including the player’s ability to obtain a COVID test and test negative each day while away from campus.

While teams and the league want to accommodate players (and staff) who must depart for real-life events and emergencies, there is also a responsibility to minimize risk of someone potentially contracting COVID outside of the bubble and then bringing it to Orlando, where an outbreak could jeopardize the entire season. These urgent departures have become common, as a number of Clippers have been impacted already, and Marcus Morris has announced his intention to depart the bubble in September for the birth of his child.

So, while the league does not necessarily punish players like Williams who leave campus for family matters, players may be disadvantaged due to precautions by the league. If the league suspended or fined Williams as punishment for his conduct, I would find it an absurd and inconsistent application of a non-existent rule. The league choosing to extend Williams’ quarantine to 10 days as a precaution to protect other players and staff is harder to fault.

For example, Lakers guard Alex Caruso considered leaving the bubble for his sister’s July 18th wedding. But due to the size and nature of the event, the league informed him that he would be subject to a longer quarantine of at least 10 days, which he decided was not worth the trip. Attending his sister’s wedding would of course not warrant punishment, but safety is safety.

As a result of Lou Williams’ visit to an Atlanta strip club, he will miss the Clippers’ first two seeding games against the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. Fortunately, the Clippers are fairly sturdy in second place and face minimal consequences should the Denver Nuggets pass them. The most important thing for the Clippers remains getting everyone to Orlando, in game shape, and in rhythm–something that Lou’s extended quarantine may delay, but shouldn’t threaten.

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Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

13 Comments

  • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

    Lou just couldn’t help himself. SMH.

  • Avatar Alan Ng says:

    Alex Caruso skipping his sisters wedding to avoid the quarantined days while Lou couldn’t resist chicken wings.

    Perhaps Mike Trudell was right between the comparisons after all.

    • Robert Flom Robert Flom says:

      Lou had already left the bubble to go to a funeral, which was undoubtedly at higher risk than picking up takeout at a quarantined restaurant.

      Lou is also a way better player than Caruso, which is what Trudell was talking about.

  • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

    OK, so he’s got to quaranteen 10 days. What exactly does that mean besides not playing in games? House arrest in the hotel room? Gym workouts or other rec OK? Practicing with team? I think Lou’s gonna be PO’ed regardless.

    • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

      Quarantine means quarantine. No practice or contact with the team until he’s cleared. He stays in his room and brought food, etc. JJ did a pod at the start of the bubble where he described quarantine.

  • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

    He’s gonna go crazy and I wouldn’t rule out his just bailing. That’s kind of a jail sentence, no matter the amenities in the room.

    • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

      For what it’s worth, while I believe the initial quarantine (in which everyone from all 22 teams was quarantined, and only for 2 days) followed those “stay in your room” rules, I think I read somewhere that these longer re-entry quarantines come with a little more flexibility: no practice or indoor common spaces, but freedom to go outside while maintaining a 25ft distance from others.

      So my guess is that in addition to games/tv/music in his room, Lou can take walks around the campus and might even be able to swing solo fishing trips, etc.

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    My first thought on seeing the headline (not on this site) was “What an idiot.” Next thought: “Why the hell are strip clubs open anywhere during a pandemic?” So he was there to pick up food and not for a lap dance. Still not a good look. Magic City’s site says it’s actually open for dine-in. During a pandemic. Masks probably not required either, given the state of affairs in Georgia.

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      Yea, Lou going to grab a bite to eat indoors was dumb, but not anywhere near as dumb as “going to a strip club for a lap dance after a funeral.” Here’s hoping he’s mature enough to realize he isn’t being victimized here – the NBA has gotta do what it’s gotta do to try to keep the players and staff safe. Basketball-wise he looked spry in the first scrimmage, so I think he’ll be ok for the rest of the season/playoffs as well.

  • Avatar Alan Ng says:

    At least Bev is back in the bubble.

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