A new piece by Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone took a deep dive into some of the issues that the NBA is having getting a lot of unvaccinated players to change their mind.
In the eyes of Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA should remove those players from teams. As Abdul-Jabbar argues, “there is no room for players” who opt to pass on the vaccine.
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
Abdul-Jabbar believes there is a moral obligation that comes with having a platform that can save lives, and opting to not use it is “contributing to these deaths” that occur due to the ongoing pandemic.
“They are failing to live up to the responsibilities that come with celebrity. Athletes are under no obligation to be spokespersons for the government, but this is a matter of public health,” the Hall-of-Famer writes Rolling Stone in an e-mail. Abdul-Jabbar is especially disappointed in athletes of color: “By not encouraging their people to get the vaccine, they’re contributing to these deaths. I’m also concerned about how this perpetuates the stereotype of dumb jocks who are unable to look at verified scientific evidence and reach a rational conclusion.”
City mandates passed by New York City and San Francisco spell trouble for notable unvaccinated players like Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement won’t allow for a full-on vaccine mandate.