Ben Simmons Has Weaponized America’s Compassion For Mental Health To Sit Games

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A new report has surfaced that Nets guard Ben Simmons has a “mental block” that’s creating stress on his back. The dude’s got more excuses than just about anyone in recent history, so it’s time we draw some conclusions about him.

Ben Simmons has weaponized America’s sympathy for those battling mental health issues so that he can sit games and cash checks he hasn’t earned. Anyone suggesting otherwise is pandering to social media pressure that suggests we can’t criticize anyone who claims to struggle with mental health.

We shouldn’t allow this any longer, and thankfully, basketball analysts are having NONE of this.

When Ben Simmons was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden back in February, the media was told Simmons needed time to get mentally ready. Mostly everyone respected his wish, and the conversation shifted to Kyrie Irving’s battle with New York’s vaccine mandate and whether Kevin Durant could lead a team to a championship without a 73-win team. Again, leniency for Simmons to work his way back until he was mentally ready to return to practice.

The problem was that Ben Simmons then indicated his back wasn’t in shape enough to sustain physical 5-on-5 contact. That’s right — a 25-year-old who hasn’t touched an NBA floor in a year told us he’s hurt. Mind boggling, but rather than getting into a dispute as to how or why he’s telling us he’s not ready, Simmons is making it clear his pain is physical.

We can question what Simmons did to get hurt or whether that injury ever existed, but in this years first round playoff series. The Nets went on to drop all three games to head into Game 4 down 3-0, and suddenly Simmons reveals “back soreness.” Zero soreness any of the previous 10 days of updates from head coach Steve Nash, except the morning before a potential return. Fakest report we ever heard.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving eventually get swept in Game 4, and Ben Simmons has a “mental road block,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It’s hard to keep up with the excuses at this point.

Taking advantage of our sympathy

Ben Simmons knows he can make any excuse he wants and get away with it. The Brooklyn Nets still owe Simmons $114 million over the next three seasons, and they clearly need him on the floor. But who’s willing to tell Ben Simmons enough with the excuses and it’s time to get on the floor? So far, no one has to the extent I will today.

We’re now in a society where athletes can claim mental health issues as the reason why they can’t do their job. They’ll show up right on time to pick up their checks or to file grievances, yet somehow they can’t face adversity to do the job they’re paid to do. Do athletes face mental health issues like the rest of us? Yes. Despite their financial fortunes, there’s no escape from a psychological battle. Money can’t solve that problem, and I’m really here saying Ben Simmons isn’t facing this battle at all.

He’s making excuses to pick the perfect time for a return to action that requires the least expectations. What Simmons feels is pressure, and it’s natural for young people, especially in this era, to run from it. If someone wants to defend Ben Simmons’ new claim of a mental road block, fine. Explain the inconsistent stories he shared with the media as to why he couldn’t do his job. Chances are, he loves playing video games and cashing checks like a superstar athlete. Wouldn’t we all? It’s really just too bad we all can’t tell our bosses we’re depressed and receive full pay and benefits.

NBA owners will surely use this Ben Simmons nightmare to argue against fully guaranteed contracts in the next CBA.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. People go to work every day that struggle with mental illness. This younger generation is really weak. People running interference for them from birth isn’t doing them any favors.

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