PHILADELPHIA — Like a bad penny, they keep turning up.
Like a pebble in the back of your shoe, they’re beyond irritating. They’re painful. Ben and Carson. Carson and Ben.
Ben Simmons provided the most recent reminder of the disastrous 2021-22 edition of Philadelphia sports. The Sixers on Monday settled Simmons’ grievance that sought to recoup the $20 million he lost by not showing up for work.
The Sixers claimed he breached his contract, which he clearly did. You see, Simmons demanded a trade, and when the Sixers refused, he then claimed he was unable to play due to unspecified “mental health issues.”
These issues seemed to stem from his coach and his teammate saying he didn’t play well, which he didn’t. This would be like me refusing to show up for work due to “mental health issues” because my editors said I made grammaterical errors.
They also seemed to stem from Sixers president Daryl Morey refusing to trade him, since these issues weren’t mentioned before Morey refused to trade him.
On one hand, Simmons’ claim was a ghastly insult to people with actual mental health issues. On the other hand, Simmons’ claim is inarguable: He’d have to be crazy to think he could get away with the mental health ploy, especially when, according to the Sixers, he didn’t allow team doctors to examine him.
Turns out, he was crazy — crazy clever. The sides cited a confidentiality agreement, but one NBA insider estimates that Simmons got at least $10 million, which should pay off that engagement ring he bought for Maya Jama when he was unemployed (a ring that, apparently, he might be getting back any day now).
As infuriating as the settlement was — money for nothing, indeed — it ripped open a scab to a very Philadelphian wound that will take years to heal.