Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Rolling Stone that if NBA players aren’t vaccinated, they shouldn’t be on the team.
“The NBA should require all players and personnel to get vaccinated or they should be removed from the team,” Abdul-Jabbar stated.
“There is no space for athletes who are prepared to put their teammates’, staff’s, and fans’ health and lives in jeopardy simply because they are unable to comprehend the gravity of the problem or conduct the necessary research.”
During a Monday appearance on Don Lemon Tonight, Abdul-Jabbar expanded on this issue, saying, “They are not acting like decent teammates or citizens, in my opinion. We’re in the middle of a conflict. Masks and vaccinations are among the weapons we employ in this conflict.”
Abdul-Jabbar has been an outspoken supporter of the Covid-19 vaccination. The NBA legend was photographed receiving his shot and participated in an NBA public service announcement encouraging people to get immunized.
The NBA does not need athletes to be Covid-19-vaccinated in order to compete. Referees and other personnel who deal directly with players, on the other hand, must be completely vaccinated.
In August, New York City and San Francisco altered the game by requiring NBA players on their home teams to get vaccinated. This may imply that NBA players from such cities are unable to participate unless they are medically or religiously exempt.
At the Brooklyn Nets’ annual media day on Monday, point guard Kyrie Irving was not physically present alongside his teammates. Irving, on the other hand, accepted a query on the subject from afar.
Irving did not reveal his vaccination status, nor did he indicate if he anticipated to be vaccinated or compliant by the time the Nets returned home after playing the Los Angeles Lakers in a preseason game on Sunday. “I want to keep that information private,” he added.
“First and foremost, I’m a human being,” Irving stated. “Obviously, living in this public realm, there are a lot of questions about what’s going on in Kyrie’s world, and I think I’d just want to keep it private and manage it the proper way, with my team, and go forward with the plan together.”
Later, Abdul-Jabbar told CNN’s Don Lemon that Irving’s comments was something he “couldn’t tolerate.” “Here, he’s hiding behind protocol. Either you grasp what’s going on and will act appropriately, or you don’t comprehend what’s going on and will continue to confuse the situation with your attitude.”
In the Rolling Stone essay, Abdul-Jabbar also called out vaccination skeptics.
He told Rolling Stone, “What I find so dishonest about vaccination skeptics is their hubris in rejecting immunology and other medical professionals.” “However, how fast would they do exactly what those same experts instructed them to do if their child was sick or they themselves required emergency medical treatment?”
“The more ignorance that is pushed around, the simpler it is to deceive people about what’s occurring,” Abdul-Jabbar said during his discussion with Lemon regarding vaccination disinformation.
“We must educate ourselves in order to comprehend what is being presented. The vaccinations are both safe and effective. We must also battle this infection as a unit. We can’t have people thinking, “Well, I’m not supposed to do that.” That is insane “According to Abdul-Jabbar.
While vaccination apprehension is decreasing, certain segments of the public remain more skeptical than others.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which projected in August that 25% of the Black population in the US was completely vaccinated, Black Americans are the least vaccinated demographic group. Only 9% of the fully vaccinated population in the United States is Black. However, this information is lacking; according to the CDC, race and ethnicity information is accessible for just 68 percent of fully vaccinated persons.
Abdul-Jabbar has stressed the need of reaching out to vaccination skeptics, particularly those in minority communities.
In March, Abdul-Jabbar told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “We have to gain the trust of minority groups by demonstrating them that the vaccination is efficacious and that it is in their best interest to take the vaccine.” “In the past, the difficulty was that no one wanted to offer them the most up-to-date treatment.”
He was referring to the Tuskegee experiment, in which researchers treated Black men with syphilis unethically between 1932 and 1972, allowing the disease to develop.
Athletes and celebrities, according to Abdul-Jabbar, may be able to assist vaccination skeptics.
In March, he told CNN that “a lot of people in minority groups admire athletes that go out there and take their word on matters like this.” “Anytime that happens, it allows more individuals to obtain the immunization they need and help us defeat Covid-19.”