If NBA players are not vaccinated, they should not be on the team, Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Rolling Stone.
“The NBA must insist that all players and staff be vaccinated or removed from the team,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, staff and fans because they are unable to understand the gravity of the situation or conduct the necessary research.”
Abdul-Jabbar elaborated on that point during an interview on Dawn Lemon Tonight on Monday, saying, “I don’t think they’re being treated like good comrades or good citizens. This is a war we’re involved in. And Masks and vaccines – those are the weapons we use to fight this war.”
Abdul-Jabbar has been a vocal supporter of getting the Covid-19 vaccine. The NBA great received his vaccine on camera and appeared in an NBA public service announcement encouraging others to get vaccinated.
The NBA does not require players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to play. However, referees and other staff who work closely with players are required to be fully vaccinated.
New York City and San Francisco changed the game in August when they required that NBA players on their home teams be vaccinated. This could mean that stars of NBA teams in those cities would not be able to play unless they were medically or religiously exempt.
Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was not physically present with his teammates at the Nets’ annual media day on Monday. But Irving raised a question on the issue from afar.
Irving did not disclose his vaccination status – nor did he say whether he expected to be vaccinated or comply until he returned home to the Nets after his preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. He said he wanted to “keep that stuff private.”
“I’m a human first,” Irving said. “Obviously living in this public realm, it’s a lot of questions about what’s happening in Kyrie’s world and I think I’d love to just keep it private and handle it properly, my team.” plan to move forward with and with.”
Abdul-Jabbar later told CNN’s Don Lemon that he “cannot accept” Irving’s statement. “He’s hiding behind the process here. Either you understand what’s going on and you’re going to do the right thing, or you don’t understand what’s going on and you create all this confusion with your attitude.” will continue.”
Abdul-Jabbar also called out vaccine denials in a Rolling Stone article.
“What I find particularly inconsistent about vaccine denialists is their distrustful immunology and their arrogance over other medical experts,” he told Rolling Stone. “Still, if their child was sick or needed emergency medical treatment themselves, how quickly would they do what the same specialists told them to do?”
During his interview with Lemon, Abdul-Jabbar touched on vaccine misinformation, saying, “The more ignorance is spread, the easier it is to confuse people about what’s going on.”
“We have to educate ourselves so that we understand what is being offered. These vaccines are safe and they are effective. And we have to fight this virus as a group. We can’t make some people feel that way.” are, ‘Okay, I don’t need to do that.’ This is madness, ”said Abdul-Jabbar.
While vaccine hesitation is waning, there are some segments of the population that are still more hesitant than others.
Black Americans are the least vaccinated demographic group, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimated in August that 25% of the black population in the US was fully vaccinated. Only 9% of the fully vaccinated US population is black. However, this data is incomplete—the CDC reports that race and ethnicity data is only available for 68% of people who have been fully vaccinated.
Abdul-Jabbar talks about the importance of reaching out to those who are hesitant to vaccinate, especially those from the minority community.
“We have to gain the confidence of minority communities by showing that the vaccine is effective and that it is in their best interest to have the vaccine,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in March. “The problem in the past was that nobody wanted to give them the latest treatment.”
He noted the Tuskegee experiment, when researchers unethically stopped treatment of black men who had syphilis between 1932 and 1972, leading to the disease.
Abdul-Jabbar said athletes and celebrities may be able to help those who are hesitant to get vaccinated.
“A lot of people in minority communities respect the athletes who go out there and have their say on things of this nature,” he told CNN in March. “Whenever that happens it makes it possible for more people to get the vaccinations they need and helps us defeat this COVID-19 thing.”
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