Eagles' Jason Kelce offers his opinion on Ben Simmons saga
One of Philadelphia's favorite sons thinks it's about a lack of accountability more than anything else.
As the tension between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers continues, there is no shortage of debate.
Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce weighs in on Ben Simmons
Center for the Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce is the latest to offer an opinion on the uncertain relationship between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers. Kelce was speaking on the fans of the city of Philadelphia and the relationship they have with their professional teams and athletes, when he turned his attention to Simmons and the ongoing saga.
Citing a lack of a lack of accountability he said, "I tell guys, you write your own narrative. I don't want to crush any other players, but what's going on with the 76ers, Ben Simmons, stuff like that, all of that is because of a lack of accountability, a lack of owning up to mistakes and a lack of correcting things," Kelce said. "If all that got corrected, if you're fixing free throws, if you're getting better as a player, none of this is happening. So everybody can bitch and complain about how tough this city is to play in. Just play better, man. This city will love you."
Most recently Simmons was expelled from a training session by coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday after he repeatedly refused to particpate in a drill. As a result, Simmons was then suspended for the season opener on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans, which the 76ers won 117-97. The star point guard was officially sanctioned for 'conduct detrimental to the team.'
How did Ben Simmons get here?
While there have been a variety of opinions offered, the scrutiny that Simmons faces boils down to one moment. Four months ago in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks Simmons opted out of an open dunk that would have tied the game with less than four minutes on the clock. The Sixers went on to lose to Hawks, bringing their season to an end.
It is alleged that the star point guard asked for a trade almost immediately. When his request was not granted he went on strike, refusing to train for two weeks of camp. Finally he reported for training last week and after passing through several reentry protocols over the course of days, he was allowed to rejoin the team. This of course was not without heavy fines.To date the 76ers have fined Simmons more than $1.4 million for his absence from four preseason games along with practices, workouts and meetings.
Kelce: Play hard and Philadelphia will love you
While he made clear he has nothing personally against Simmons, Kelce made it clear that the circumstances were "a travesty any way you put it. These guys were all brought in here, a lot of talent, and it hasn't worked out for them for whatever reason," Kelce said. "But it's a pretty good example of how not to handle the Philly media, at the very least."
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Kelce, who was an integral part of the team that gave Philadelphia their first ever Super Bowl title is a fan favorite. He again doubled down on the idea that though talent helps it's about being accountable. "There's a lot of people that say it's a hard place to play. I think it's pretty f---ing easy, to be honest with you," Kelce stated. "You just go out there and play hard. You want to be loved in this city as a baseball player? Run to first base. They're going to f---ing love you. That's what it comes down to. If you come up here and make a bunch of excuses, you come up here and try to lie to them and act like they don't know what they're talking about - which sometimes they don't - when you act that way or you aren't accountable, you're making mistakes or you're not getting better, they're going to crush you."
Kelce added, "Everybody's going to get crushed at some point, everybody is going to go through a downturn and be struggling, and at all times this city is going to keep you accountable for doing your job and performing. But if you stick to it and you fight through it and you get better, they'll respect the hell out of you. Even if you're struggling and you're fighting and you're trying, they're still going to respect you. That's what I think most guys miss. I really don't think this is a hard place to play at all. I think a hard place to play is ... I think it would be miserable to play in a place like Jacksonville, where nobody cares."