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Report: Rockets officials told players not to respond to NBA about Sterling Brown incident

Rockets guard Sterling Brown

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 17: Sterling Brown #0 of the Houston Rockets looks on during the game against the Golden State Warriors on March 17, 2021 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Rockets announced Sterling Brown got jumped by strangers Sunday in Miami and would make a full recovery, which led to many questions. Mainly:

What happened?

Shams Charania and Kelly Iko of The Athletic:

As the clock ticked closer to midnight on Sunday, multiple Rockets players — around a handful or more — took the short 20-minute trip to the Booby Trap strip club.
Sources said Brown entered the wrong sprinter van on his way out of the club and had a heated exchange of words with three or more individuals who appeared to possess the sprinter at the time. It escalated into all of those individuals jumping Brown, physically beating him up, hitting him in the head with a bottle and leaving blood everywhere, sources told The Athletic.
The Rockets are bracing for a full investigation, and a source said team officials have quietly told at least a few players not to respond to league inquiries on the matter.

Thankfully, Brown has been discharged from the hospital and, again, is expected to make a full recovery. That matters most.

The NBA should get a fuller understanding of what happened, though. The league’s coronavirus protocols restrict players from going to clubs, though more allowances are made as a team gets vaccinated. It’s also unclear how someone entering the wrong van escalated into such violence.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says: “Players are required to cooperate with investigations of alleged player misconduct conducted by the NBA. Failure to so cooperate, in the absence of a reasonable apprehension of criminal prosecution, will subject the player to reasonable fines and/or suspensions imposed by the NBA.” There could be a reasonable apprehension of criminal prosecution in regards to the fight. That seemingly wouldn’t excuse failing to cooperate into an investigation of the league’s coronavirus policy.

The NBA might also take issue with the act itself of Rockets officials encouraging players not to cooperate.