The drama between basketball player Ben Simmons and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers has been ongoing for most of 2021, but for anyone outside of the sports world, the unfolding story may not be as well-known.
The Australian-born Simmons began playing for the Philadelphia 76ers after being drafted in March of 2016. Simmons joined the team for the summer league but didn’t finish due to an ankle injury that kept him out for the entire 2016-17 season. Simmons went on to play in the following season and was named NBA Rookie of the Year for 2018. Unfortunately, Simmons was again sidelined for six months in 2020 for a back injury.
Although Simmons’ performance for much of 2021 had been considered by many to be less than impressive, it was a comment from team coach Doc Rivers in June that’s been cited as the main reason for Simmons’ dissatisfaction with the team. When a reporter asked Rivers if Simmons could be a point guard on a championship team, his response was: "I don't even know how to answer that right now,” widely interpreted as a condemnation of Simmons’ performance.
Things seemed to go downhill quickly for Simmons at that point. In August, he declared his intentions to be traded to another team, despite having four years left on his contract with the 76ers. He refused to attend the team’s training camp until his request was granted. The team withheld $8.25 million owed to him as a result, and when he missed two games in October, he was fined over $200,000. He continued to miss meetings and practices that month and was suspended from two games.
Personal and Professional Impacts of Mental Illness
On October 22, Simmons announced he was not mentally ready to return to the team and needed time to step away. The team had been consistently fining Simmons for missing games, practices and meetings, but they stopped doing so at this point, possibly due to a clause in the league's collective bargaining agreement that protects players' salary for failing to render services "if such failure has been caused by the player's mental disability."
Simmons' agent Rich Paul publicly criticized the way the team has handled the issue, arguing that the fines and negative attention were only making the situation worse, not better. "I truly believe the fines, the targeting, the negative publicity shined on the issue — that's very unnecessary and has furthered the mental health issues for Ben," Paul said. "Either you help Ben, or come out and say he's lying. Which one is it?”
"In this case, we have to get Ben help and not put finances above mental health," Paul added. "As an agent, I understand contractual obligations and I hold myself accountable in this business. But if someone is telling you something, we can no longer turn a blind eye in today's world."
At the end of October, ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne revealed that Simmons’ mental health struggles have been ongoing for months and that he has been seeking help to deal with the issues for longer than was publicly known. “This work – with the mental health professionals – has been taking place since the summer,” says Shelburne, “but it’s just in the past week that it’s been more public about that.”
Much like NBA player Delonte West, Simmons seems to have been dealing with a lot of personal struggles that have impacted his professional life. For athletes like West, Ben Simmons, or tennis player Naomi Osaka, athletic prowess--and the fame, money, and adulation that accompany that success--does not mean that mental illness simply disappears.
Share Is There
Having mental health struggles that impact your personal and professional life should not deter you from seeking the benefits you deserve, especially when filing a long-term disability benefits claim. Denied disability claims by insurance companies are extremely common, and they shouldn’t make you afraid to seek the advice and help of an experienced disability lawyer.
Share Lawyers has helped many clients get the disability benefits they deserve, even after their insurance companies have denied their disability benefits claims, including clients with invisible illnesses like mental illness. Disability law is always evolving and now covers more conditions than ever before and legal precedent suggests that disability can and should be interpreted in broad terms.
An invisible disability is a valid basis for a long-term disability benefits claim, so don’t hesitate to reach out to Share Lawyers if a medical issue is making it difficult to keep up with the demands at work or you have been wrongly denied long-term disability benefits. Remember, we offer a free consultation so you can explore your options. We are here to help.
If you have had your claim for long-term disability denied, contact the long-term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our experienced team of long-term disability (LTD) lawyers can help. We have recently settled cases against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.
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A note from our long term disability lawyers
Taking a medical leave from work is not an easy decision to make. Concerns about providing for yourself and your family and keeping your job may cause you to want to push through your pain, but this won’t make your problems go away. Stopping work is often the smartest decision for your long term health and well-being, and your disability benefits are there to provide you with financial support until you can return to work.
If you have made the tough decision to stop working and apply for your short term disability or long term disability benefits, you may feel overwhelmed by the process and have questions that your employer and your insurance company are not able or willing to answer. Share is There to see you through and answer your questions.
Our Disability law firm knows what you have been going through
We understand that things have not been easy for you over the last little while. Your health has been suffering, you are unable to work, and now your insurance company, who was supposed to be there in your time of need, has decided they will not pay your disability benefits or respect your disability claim. These benefits exist to provide you with the financial support you need so that you can focus on your health and rebuilding your life. It is unfortunate that your insurance company has not lived up to its promise. If your disability claim has been denied, we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Our disability lawyers have helped thousands of Canadians get their long term disability benefits over the past 35 years, and we can help you too.
Our experienced disability lawyers can fight back on your behalf
Share Lawyers believes that every client who is dealing with a disability claim deserves superior personal service. To achieve that goal, we have developed our team of experienced, compassionate, and caring long term disability lawyers, law clerks, and administrative staff to meet all of your needs. Our team of experienced long term disability, life insurance, employment, and critical illness insurance lawyers have made successful claims against many insurance companies, third-party administrators and employers.
If you are unable to work, your disability benefits should be there to provide you with the financial support you need. While your insurance company may be focused on finding ways to avoid paying your claim, our focus is on what is in your best interest. When Share Lawyers gets involved, you have an entire team of lawyers that are there to support you and to fight for what is yours.
Our disability claim lawyers fight for your disability insurance claim by relying on our many years of experience to apply the best strategic planning and approach in each case, using the latest technology available. Experience matters, and with Share Lawyers, you are in the best hands with 35 years of success on your side.
In this video, we explain the role of a long term disability lawyer and how we can support you when you have been denied your long term disability benefits.