In a rather strange and unexpected twist, it is NBA players who are reshaping the discussion around coronavirus vaccinations and personal choice, with numerous players voicing their opinions this week as the league debates punishments for the approximately 5% of players who reportedly aren’t vaccinated.
We previously wrote about how Orlando Magic basketball player Jonathan Isaac, 23, and Washington Wizards player Bradley Beal, 28, were among several players who spoke out Monday after being questioned by reporters on “Media Day” as to their personal opinions on the coronavirus vaccine and why they felt like it should be a personal choice instead of forced on them via industry or government mandates.
And today, one day after Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green – who says he’s fully vaccinated – said he wouldn’t pressure his teammates to get the vaccine, suggesting that the whole issue had been unnecessarily politicized and pointing out that “you have to honor people’s feelings and their own personal beliefs,” Los Angeles Lakers star/icon LeBron James threw his .02 into the mix:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 1, 2021
They were a reaffirmation of statements he made earlier this week when he told reporters that though he was fully vaccinated, “I don’t feel like, for me personally, I should get involved in what other people should do with their bodies and their livelihoods.”
It didn’t take long for the gnashing of teeth to begin in the usual corners, as evidenced by the responses to James’ tweet and the write-ups that followed his comments from Monday and today. A few examples follow:
– “Why LeBron James Shouldn’t Cover for Vaccine Refusers” – Atlantic contributor and ex-ESPN commentator Jemele Hill
– “LeBron James co-signs Draymond Green’s inane COVID comments about Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins” – SFGate news reporter Joshua Bote
– “Whoopi Goldberg Blasts LeBron for Not Endorsing Covid Jab: At Least Say ‘Nobody Grew a Second Head or Tail’” – via Mediaite
– “Draymond Green, LeBron James and the other NBA players are totally missing the point on the COVID vaccine” – USA Today “For the Win” opinion writer Mike D. Sykes
I suspect that the real issue here for the players’ critics is not so much that they are refusing to tell people whether or not to get vaccinated but rather they are busting the media/Democrat narrative that it’s only (white) conservatives who are supposedly vaccine-hesitant. Last I checked, none of these guys had ever worn a red MAGA hat.
Also, there has been a high degree of vaccine skepticism in the black community, which is why Vice President Kamala Harris visited certain parts of the country earlier this year to encourage people of color to get the vaccine (after she herself undermined public confidence in the vaccine a year ago because it was being developed during the Trump administration).
But back to Isaac, who you may remember as the only Magic player to stand during the National Anthem last summer as his fellow players kneeled. He said that while he was not “anti-vax” as the media had portrayed him, he had his reasons for opting not to get the vaccine.
For starters, he noted he’d already battled COVID. “With me having COVID in the past and having antibodies, with my current age group and physical fitness level, it’s not necessarily a fear of mine,” he stated. In addition to that, he said he felt like it was an individual’s own business to draw their own conclusions about whether or not to get the vaccine and that they should not be “demeaned” over it:
“I don’t feel that it is anyone’s reason to come out and say well this is why or this is not why, it should just be their decision. Loving your neighbor is not just loving those who agree with you or look like you or move in the same way that you do. It’s, you know, loving those who don’t.”
In his remarks, Beal said:
“I don’t think you can pressure anybody into making a decision about their body or what they put into their body. We can have this discussion about a lot of different topics besides vaccines, too. You can’t necessarily force anybody, or kind of say, it’s time for a vaccine. I think you kind of let people come into their own about it. If they do their research, when they feel comfortable, they do it.”
As I pointed out before, we are living in some interesting times, for sure, when professional sports players are making more sense and sounding more pro-individual freedom on medical decisions than the so-called “medical experts” in the media and on the left.
They’re making so much sense that even high-profile Republicans are high-fiving them.
“I’m standing with the NBA players and anyone who believes we should respect medical privacy and individual freedom,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told NBC News after tweeting that he “stood” in support of the players alongside the hashtag “#YourBodyYourChoice.”
Like I said, interesting (and “who saw THIS coming?”) times for sure.