Writing about spoiled, overpaid athletes isn’t something I enjoy doing, but when an entitled, pampered clown who makes millions for dribbling a ball uses mental health as a shield to not be accountable for himself at work, I have to chime in.
Now, if Ben Simmons is struggling mentally, I hope he finds the peace and help he needs. I have no idea what’s going on inside of Ben Simmons’ head. It’s unfair to assume what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling. But if we’re going to talk about mental health, all thoughts and factors must be discussed.
Given all the information surrounding Ben Simmons, his departure from the Philadelphia 76ers, and my own personal experience struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues my entire life, it appears Ben Simmons’s claim of mental health problems reeks of fraud.
Let’s look at how we got here.
Ben Simmons has struggled in his biggest moments while at work (the NBA playoffs) because of his inability to shoot a basketball. That’s right. Ben Simmons, a basketball player, can’t shoot a basketball. Rather than improve this basic skill required for his job, which pays him millions, Ben Simmons spent years blowing the Sixers’ chances at winning an NBA title. After another piss-poor performance in the 2021 NBA playoffs, Ben Simmons refused to show up for work due to “mental health issues”. The executives of the Philadelphia 76ers took his claims seriously. The Sixers tried to aid Ben Simmons in his healing. Here’s how Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice put it:
“Simmons would not see the supplied team doctors to address the issue, and though reports have suggested that he has seen someone through the NBPA (the NBA’s Player Association/union), the Sixers never received documentation that provided them with either an explanation for his absence or a treatment plan to put him in a position to be available at some point this season. League sources who spoke to PhillyVoice in the fall described the process as no different from if a player saw an outside specialist for a bone break or ligament tear, the team needing to be kept in the loop regarding what an injury is and how it’s meant to be dealt with.”
Ben Simmons refused to meet with the doctors his employer, the Philadelphia 76ers, offered him. Then, Ben Simmons refused to communicate with team officials. He also did not provide any documentation of his progress in therapy. Imagine you did that at your job. Tell your boss you’re struggling mentally and then ghost the job for a while. What would happen? You’d be fired. Why do millionaire athletes get coddled? Why is there no accountability? And why is Ben Simmons stonewalling team executives who are trying to help him heal?
I understand that mental health is tough to talk about.
It’s embarrassing and feels shameful to admit some things out loud.
Mental health has led people to harm themselves, and sometimes even worse.
Mental health isn’t a joke.
Mental health isn’t a loophole.
But to Ben Simmons and his enablers, it’s a way to force a trade and recoup money he lost for not showing up for work after crying mental anguish with no receipts.
Tonight, Ben Simmons returns to Philadelphia for the first time since he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. It’s also the first time this season Ben Simmons will be on the bench with his any of his teammates (Philadelphia or Brooklyn) for a game, a calculated move by Ben Simmons and his cronies. Ben Simmons and his enablers are betting on Philadelphia fans being rude, hostile, and mean to poor little Ben. Once Philadelphia fans boo and heckle him, Ben Simmons will cry mental agony and file a grievance against the Philadelphia 76ers for the $20 million in fines he received for refusing to show up to work while he was employed by the team this season. (Ben Simmons was fined more than I’ll make in four lifetimes. For playing basketball. Not for serving his country. Not for developing sciences. Not teaching our youth. Not for saving lives as a medical professional.)
My guess is that Ben Simmons and his team will claim a toxic work environment in their grievance against the Sixers. Others think Ben Simmons will use the boos he receives tonight as proof of a toxic work environment.
Yet, here’s what Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid said to the sold-out crowd in Philadelphia before the home opener:
“A lot has happened the last few months. I urge you guys to continue to support us and our teammate Ben, cause he’s still our brother.”
Seems like he’s trying to help Ben and ask the people of Philadelphia to support him, too.
That doesn’t seem toxic.
As for Philadelphia Sixers coaches, fans, and NBA analysts who “attacked” Ben Simmons, I’m sorry but that’s a part of the job of being an NBA player. He gets paid millions of dollars to play a sport. And he hasn’t been good when it mattered most. Of course, people will criticize him. Especially in Philly. We’re a tough people. We don’t always say or do the right things, but we always call it like we see it. Brutally.
In February, the Sixers had enough of Ben Simmons not showing up for work without explaining why. They found a way to trade him to the Brooklyn Nets.
Here’s what happened next:
“Immediately upon being traded to Brooklyn, Simmons has been seen doing an assortment of things that he and his agency asserted he was unable to do with the Sixers, including working out with teammates, sitting on the bench with teammates, or traveling with the team in any capacity.” – Kyle Neubeck, PhillyVoice
A change of scenery and suddenly Ben Simmons is cured from his mental woes? It’s almost like he doesn’t actually understand how depression and/or mental health actual works. A new job doesn’t cure someone from their mental anguish. (Trust me, I’ve tried it.)
Ben Simmons is full of shit.
It’s extremely gross, manipulative, and disgusting what he and his enablers are doing.
I understand that people will disagree with my opinion. That’s fine. But until there’s more evidence supporting Ben Simmons’ mental struggles, my opinion won’t change. Because when people like Ben Simmons use mental health as a means to an end, it sets back all the progress mental health advocates and those ACTUALLY suffering from mental health issues have made over the past decade. If Ben Simmons has lied about his mental health struggles, he should never be allowed to play in the NBA again. And maybe for once in his life, Ben Simmons will be held accountable for his actions.
(And if I’m wrong about Ben Simmons, I’ll write a whole new article and apologize to him because removing the stigma around mental health is the goal, not being right.)