NBA should be working on an alternative to Irving's COVID-19 vaccination message

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has thus far refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

    Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has thus far refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Associated Press

Posted10/18/2021 12:00 PM

On Friday, the Bulls will unlock the doors of the United Center for their first regular-season home game with no attendance restrictions since March 10, 2020.

So a full house, or close to it, is expected to be on hand. That means roughly 20,000 fans, every stadium employee, every team employee, every media member, coach and referee will have shown proof of vaccination to get in.


Yet, some NBA players are still saying no, some more publicly than others. On media day, Arturas Karnisovas said the Bulls are not 100% vaccinated, but no player has spoken up about it.

Players association executive director Michele Roberts recently said NBA players are 90% vaccinated. If the country as a whole reached that level, we might not be having these conversations.

So the league isn't necessarily facing vaccination problems this season. But it sure could live without the PR problem.

Players like Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Isaac and Bradley Beal have talked about why they didn't want to be vaccinated, while Kyrie Irving set the bar a little higher by suggesting he might sit out the season rather than get a shot.

None of this is particularly surprising. We've long been living in a world where people say, "Don't believe common sense, believe this -- or at least your Facebook comments -- because common sense is lying to you."

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Wiggins wanted people to feel sorry for him because he felt forced to get the vaccine by the city of San Francisco.

My question for Wiggins is, "Did you get a polio vaccine before you started kindergarten and, if so, what were the negative effects?"

I could tell him the positive benefit: He's not spending half his life on an iron lung.

Irving is going to say what he wants, but the NBA should step up and at least try to counter these outspoken stars with a campaign of information.

COVID has hit the Black community hard. A month into the school year, 15 employees of the Miami-Dade County Public School district died in a span of 10 days, and that's just one example.

Is Irving pretending he's some sort of hero or a voice for the voiceless?

Humankind didn't eliminate polio, smallpox or many other deadly diseases through herd immunity. Vaccines have been successful when a significant percentage of the population buys in, otherwise the virus can live on.


Irving will be able to change his mind if he's in the mood, stroll onto the court and maybe get some cheers in Brooklyn.

An unfortunate example of the voiceless and powerless are people stuck in an ICU, hooked up to a ventilator, wishing they had gotten better advice.


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