Rich Paul Serves up a Heaping Platter of Horse Poop

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

You read that Ben Simmons article at The Athletic? I felt like I needed a cigarette afterward, and I don’t even smoke.

The title is Ben Simmons feels 76ers want to force him to play; team responds: ExclusiveIt centers around quotes from agent Rich Paul, who has turned the era of player empowerment into a total joke, highlighted by this particular client trying to force a trade out of Philadelphia by entering a taboo mental health loop with no end in sight.

From the story:

“I truly believe the fines, the targeting, the negative publicity shined on the issue — that’s very unnecessary and has furthered the mental health issues for Ben,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said. “Either you help Ben, or come out and say he’s lying. Which one is it?”

Well, the fines began before “mental health” ever became a thing. If Ben was really struggling in this department, he should have shown up to media day and training camp, communicated that to the Sixers, and accepted team help. Instead, he took two weeks of fines and then just turned up, out of the blue. The timeline negates any sympathy he might have been receiving.

More:

A 76ers team official told The Athletic on Thursday it is “absolutely not” the case that they are forcing his return or accusing him of lying. The team’s position is that he should partake in all team activities until there is information from its mental health professional or Simmons that would preclude him from playing.

A scan of the local scene shows that something like 95% of people side with the Sixers and maybe 5% side with Klutch.

More:

“In this case, we have to get Ben help and not put finances above mental health,” Paul said. “As an agent, I understand contractual obligations and I hold myself accountable in this business. But if someone is telling you something, we can no longer turn a blind eye in today’s world.

“This is no longer about a trade. This is about finding a place where we can help Ben get back to his mental strength and get back on the floor. I want him on the floor playing the game that he loves. I want Ben on the floor whether that’s in a 76ers uniform or any other uniform, that’s not up to me, but I want him in a state where he can resume play. We want to cooperate and want to work him back on the floor.”

“We want to cooperate.” 

What a load of horse shit. This guy will say anything. He has zero interest in getting Ben back on the floor “in a 76ers uniform.” He’s the architect behind this strategy of exploiting mental health in order to keep Ben off the floor while still collecting a pay check.

Last one:

Paul drew a contrast between the situation with Simmons and that of Houston Rockets guard John Wall, another of his clients, who is being paid by Houston while sitting out the season, even though he is healthy enough to play. “John is able to play, but Houston is OK using the (Collective Bargaining Agreement) to pay him not to play,” Paul said. “So which way is it? John is perfectly healthy and ready to play, and it’s OK in the CBA. We are being professional with both instances, but how can it go both ways? John and the Rockets have been professional about their situation, and we are also expecting the same with the 76ers.”

WHAT?

These two things aren’t remotely similar. John Wall isn’t playing in Houston because the Rockets are tanking and rebuilding. They are putting young guys on the floor. It’s the same thing Oklahoma City did with Al Horford. The reason Ben isn’t getting paid is because he refused to show up and do what was asked of him. He plays for a title contender.

Christ almighty. Rich Paul is probably the worst thing to happen to the NBA in 10 years. He’s reason #1 why the “player empowerment era” needs to come to an end. We’ve gone beyond individual brand building to the exploitation of mental health, in a time where people like Lane Johnson are being shown privacy and respect (when he previously would have been labeled a “pussy”). Society really has turned the corner on this topic and views it in a different way.

And we conceded months ago that Ben likely had a tough time dealing with the family issue involving his sister last season. It could not have been easy to focus and play when something serious like that was public knowledge. Add the pressure of being a NBA superstar in a big sports city, and he certainly had plenty on his shoulders and plenty on his mind.

That’s why Rich Paul deserves a ton of blame here for making it worse, and at the same time insulting other people with legitimate mental health issues. In trying to find an exit for his client, he’s pulled both sides deep down into the mud and has dirtied this thing to the point of embarrassment. Obviously he doesn’t care, and might end up getting his way, but it’s pretty sad to have to go these lengths to make it happen. To serve up a heaping load of horse shit this large. It’s a load of shit larger than the dinosaur turd from Jurassic Park:

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