NBA legend points to those who do not want to get vaccinated 3:03
(CNN) – If NBA players aren’t vaccinated, they shouldn’t be on the team, basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Rolling Stone.
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or removed from the team,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“There is no place for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, staff and fans simply because they are unable to understand the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research.”
Abdul-Jabbar elaborated on this point during an interview on the Don Lemon Tonight show this Monday, saying: “I don’t think they are behaving like good teammates or good citizens. This is a war that we are involved in. And the face masks. and vaccines … are the weapons we use to fight this war. “
Abdul-Jabbar has been a strong advocate for the application of the Covid-19 vaccine. The great NBA player got vaccinated 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, the referees and other staff members who work closely with the players are required to be fully vaccinated.
New York City and San Francisco changed the game in August when they demanded that NBA players on their home teams get vaccinated.
That could mean that the stars of NBA teams in those cities would not be able to play, unless they are exempted for medical or religious reasons.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving was not physically present with his teammates at the Nets’ annual media day on Monday. But Irving answered a question on the subject from a distance.
Irving did not disclose his vaccination status, nor did he say if he expected to be vaccinated or comply with regulations by the time the Nets return home after their preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers this Sunday. The player said he wants to “keep those things private.”
“I’m a human being first,” Irving said. “Obviously living in this public sphere, it’s just a bunch of questions about what’s going on in Kyrie’s world and I think I’d just love to keep that private and handle it in the right way, with my team and move on together with the plan”.
Abdul-Jabbar later told CNN’s Don Lemon that he “cannot accept” Irving’s statement. “He’s hiding behind the procedure here. Either he understands what’s going on and he’s going to do the right thing, or he doesn’t understand what’s going on and he’s going to keep creating all this confusion with his posture.”
Abdul-Jabbar also pointed to vaccine deniers in the Rolling Stone magazine article.
“What strikes me as especially false about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance in not believing in immunology or other medical experts,” he told Rolling Stone. “However, if your child were sick or they needed urgent medical treatment themselves, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
During his interview with Lemon, Abdul-Jabbar raised the issue of misinformation about vaccines, saying: “The more ignorance is spread, the easier it is to confuse people about what is happening.”
“We have to educate ourselves to understand what is being offered. These vaccines are safe and effective. And we have to fight this virus as a group. We cannot allow certain people to think, ‘Well, I don’t have to do that.’ madness, “said Abdul-Jabbar.
Although doubts about vaccines are diminishing, there are parts of the population that remain more reticent than others.
Black Americans are the least vaccinated demographic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimated in August that 25% of the black population from the country. she was fully vaccinated. Of the fully vaccinated US population, only 9% are black. However, these data are incomplete: CDC reports that data on race and ethnicity are only available for 68% of fully vaccinated people.
Abdul-Jabbar has spoken of the importance of reaching out to those who doubt the vaccine, especially those in the minority community.
“We have to earn the trust of minority communities by showing them that the vaccine is effective and that it is in their best interest to get vaccinated,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in March. “The problem in the old days was that nobody wanted to give them the latest treatment.”
He referred to the Tuskegee experiment, when researchers unethically withheld treatment for black men with syphilis between 1932 and 1972, letting the disease progress.
Abdul-Jabbar said athletes and celebrities can help those who doubt the vaccine.
“A lot of people in minority communities respect athletes who take to the streets and take their word for things of this nature,” he told CNN in March. “Every time that happens, they are making it possible for more people to get vaccinated and help us defeat covid-19.”
–Nicquel Terry Ellis of CNN contributed to this report.