Halfway towards the All-Star break, the NBA has been quoted about the COVID-19 vaccinations, saying that “97 %” of players have been given the shot. And the NFL has been up for debate after multiple superstars have been caught hiding and lying about their vaccination status.
For high school athletes like myself, and the option to play with the vaccine, or spectate without it, the choice seems like a no-brainer. Many people are troubled with a figure like Kyrie Irving’s decision to remove himself from the NBA season and not receive the vaccine, especially considering the additional damage it could influence on over ⅓ of the US population still without their vaccination thus far.
I believe that the NBA and other major North American sports leagues need to put their foot down and make a firm decision about continuing with or without the COVID vaccination, especially after the NFL’s recent troubles with lies about the vaccine and pandemic numbers.
Yet, with these issues that leagues and fans face, having a choice to get it or not is still an important part of being an American, and the NBA among others has seemed to operate quite well so far, even without a 100% vaccination rate.
In a country where freedom of speech is encouraged, people seem to be questioning the choice of Aaron Rodgers, who was quoted saying he was “immunized”, but just a month ago when being placed on the team COVID list, it was revealed he didn’t actually have the vaccine. He then continued on about the side effects of the vaccine, creating “fertilization problems”, and “blood clots”. State Farm, a long-time partner with Aaron Rodgers, even scrapped their partnership, effectively removing their commercials from the air.
The death rate between those with the vaccination and without is so far apart, that it really doesn’t make sense not to get it, barring a serious medical concern. Especially when not only does the vaccine protect yourself, it, more importantly, the shot protects others, like friends & families in and out of the holidays.
Just this week, the Chicago Bulls swiftly cancelled two games after finding more than half of their roster infected by the virus.
The NHL cancelled all games over the week of Christmas as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across North America.
Some of the largest names and influences in sports have continued without the shot, people like Novak Djokovic, the number one tennis player in the world, or two former NFL MVPs in Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton, and NBA stars like Michael Porter Jr. and Kyrie Irving. The list carries on and adds skepticism to the air, which is exactly the issue that the US is trying to avoid when passing out the vaccines. All these factors come together to pose a large question, will all major sports move to mandated vaccination status, and what influence do these large figures have on the public?