Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams admitted Tuesday that he has some regrets about his infamous visit to an Atlanta gentlemen's club in July amid an excused absence from the NBA's Orlando campus.
"At the time, I thought I was making a responsible decision," he said, according to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. "After looking back on it, with everything going on in the world, the pandemic, maybe it wasn't the best-quality decision. I chalk it up as that, take my 'L,' and keep moving."
Williams received permission from the team to leave the campus for a family emergency. However, the Clippers guard was scrutinized for his absence after a photograph showed him at Atlanta's Magic City club. Williams said Tuesday he visited the establishment for food after attending a viewing for Paul G. Williams, a close family friend whom he called "a mentor."
Upon his return to the NBA campus, Williams was ordered to undergo a 10-day quarantine in his room, causing him to miss two of the Clippers' seeding games and forfeit up to $150,000 in salary.
The 33-year-old vet believes he wouldn't have attracted so much attention if he was seen picking up food at any other location.
"All the attention turned to Magic City because it's a gentlemen's club," he said. "I feel like if I was at a steakhouse or Hooters or whatever, it wouldn't be half the story."
Williams mentioned teammates Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell, who also left the campus in July for personal matters. Beverley has since rejoined the team, though Harrell is without a set return date as he mourns the death of his grandmother.
Williams urged fans to be considerate regarding Harrell's situation.
"I pray and I really hope these fans understand what Trez is going through while he's away, so when he come back, people don't have a lot to say. ... We're having real-life issues in the world," Williams said. "It's on front of a page to see the decisions you make outside of that.
"It's difficult. It's part of the landscape. You understand that. People are going to say their things, they're going to print their things, imaginations are going to run wild. You deal with these things and keep moving."