Sixers’ Tobias Harris calls on teammates, fans and media to support and respect Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons has received a tremendous amount of attention since he last played for the Sixers in June.
Most Sixers fans are aware of his trade request, his withdrawal, his return to Philadelphia and his one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. And many know all about the insistence of the president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, that he will only treat Simmons for a “difference factor.”
In Tobias Harris’s opinion, the focus should be more on Simmons the human.
After the 25-year-old Australian spoke to his teammates on Friday morning and said he was not mentally ready to play, Harris shared his thoughts on Simmons.
“I think it’s obviously a good start,” said Harris after the Sixers’ loss to the Nets. “Corn, like i said (on twitter), I think that at this moment we must respect his privacy, his space. We have to be there for him throughout what he is going through and his process. I think it’s easy to look at something on the surface and come up with speculation about a lot of things, especially (with) athletes. Usually in this space you are portrayed as superhumans and not really meant to have feelings or experience anything. So I think we really need to understand that he’s human first.
“If he’s going through something, we have to respect that and we have to be there for him as a team, as an organization, fans – all the way down the line because when he’s here he puts on a show. and help us win, everybody applauds and praises. But we’re living in a ‘What have you been doing for me lately?’ kind of world. And when it’s not, it’s easy to turn around. I think right now he needs more support than neglect. I think we just need to be there for him as a team, I relayed this to the group and I hope this message will be loud and clear to our fans and everyone around the organization.
“And honestly, you too. As a medium, you also have a job. And I understand the field that you are in, but you have to understand that we are talking about a person who has a family, who has emotions. He is also a great person. So we really have to respect and not do everything for the clicks – for the click bait. Understand that we are a team – the Philadelphia 76ers, you guys, the media – we are a team. We win matches, it helps your job, makes your job easier. I think we also have to see this as a collective effort. “
The Sixers have chosen not to reveal much specific information about Simmons. Head coach Doc Rivers said ahead of the game the team “will make sure Ben is with the right people and see where it’s going.”
Speak to fans before denunciation, Joel Embiid called Simmons “always our brother” and, like Harris, asked fans to support the triple All-Star.
Embiid was less expansive than Harris when asked about Simmons’ postgame. However, he reiterated that the Sixers are a superior team when Simmons plays.
“This is the first step,” he said. “It’s a step. As I always say, it’s on the front office. Hopefully they find what’s best for the team, because it’s a business. We are trying to find ways to win. And for us we have a great opportunity. And as I always say, we’re better off with him. I wouldn’t mind playing with him. I know my teammates wouldn’t either because at the end of the day we’re just trying to win.