Stephen A. Smith claims Ben Simmons will not hear anything worse from 76ers fans if he attends the home opener against the Nets. (1:52).
PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles centre Jason Kelce offers some tips to Ben Simmons, 76ers' guard: "Just play better man."
Kelce spoke out about the relationship between Philadelphia's professional athletes and Philadelphia fans on Thursday. He said that Simmons is the problem because he lacks accountability.
I tell my guys that you can create your own story. Kelce stated that while I don't wish to crush any other players but that what's happening with Ben Simmons, the 76ers and others is due to a lack accountability, a failure to admit to mistakes, and a failure to correct them. Kelce said, "If everything was fixed, if there are free throws being made, if players are getting better, all of this would be possible." Everyone can complain about how difficult it is to live in this city. You can play better, man. You will be loved by this city."
Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Coach Doc Rivers pulled Simmons out of practice after he refused to sub in several times for a drill. Simmons was suspended by the 76ers for his conduct that was detrimental to the team, Wednesday's season-opening win over New Orleans Pelicans.
Wednesday marked the fourth anniversary of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Simmons missed an open dunk that would have tied it with less than four seconds remaining. The Sixers lost to Atlanta Hawks and their season was over.
Shortly after, Simmons requested a trade. He then withheld the first two weeks training camp to try to force the 76ers into a deal. Simmons reported to the 76ers last Monday and, after going through several days worth of reentry protocols and practiced with the team on Sunday and Monday, before being dismissed from Tuesday's practice.
According to Wojnarowski, Simmons was fined more than $1.4 Million for missing four preseason games (each $360,000) and numerous fines for missing practices and on-court workouts.
Kelce stated that he had nothing to do with Simmons, but called the situation "a tragedy in any form."
Kelce stated that "These guys were all brought here, a lot talent, but it hasn’t worked out for them for any reason." It's an example of how to not handle the Philly media at the most.
Kelce, 33 years old, is one the most loved sports figures in Philadelphia. He is an 11-year veteran and he has made a lasting impression on the Philadelphia sports community by helping to deliver the first Super Bowl title in the city's historical history. This feat was capped by his passionate speech at the title parade, while wearing a Mummers costume on the steps of Philadelphia Museum of Art.
He said that while being a good player is important, being accepted in Philadelphia comes down to being responsible and invested.
Many people say that it is a difficult place to play. To be completely honest, I find it quite easy," Kelce stated. You just have to go out and play hard. As a baseball player, you want to be loved. Run to first base. They will f---ing love and support you. It all comes down to this. You can't come up and make excuses. They'll crush you if you do.
"Everybody is going get crushed at one point. Everyone is going through a downturn, everyone is going to be struggling, and this city will always hold you accountable for performing your job. They will respect you if you persevere and push through the challenges and get better. They will still respect you, even if you are struggling and fighting. This is what most men miss. This is not a difficult place to play. It is not a difficult place to play. It would be awful to play in Jacksonville where no one cares.
This report was contributed by Tim Bontemps, ESPN.