Health

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says NBA players who refuse the COVID vaccine should be “disciplined”

Basketball legend and longtime activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says NBA players who have refused to get vaccinated for COVID should be “disciplined.” The NBA mentioned the league cannot mandate players to get vaccinated until the players’ union approves it.

About 90% of NBA players have been vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19. In an interview on CNN, Abdul-Jabbar, who has been advocating for others to get the COVID vaccine, mentioned the league should step in. “I think they should be disciplined,” he mentioned Monday. “I don’t think they are behaving like good teammates or good citizens.” 

Earlier Monday, Brooklyn Nets famous person Kyrie Irving mentioned he wished to maintain his vaccination standing “private” after Rolling Stone reported on his social media exercise, the place he was partaking with anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. He could not attend the session in particular person as a result of New York City requires anybody over the age of 12 to point out COVID-19 vaccination proof to enter indoor venues, akin to gyms or arenas. Abdul-Jabbar mentioned he “can’t accept” Irving’s stance on the problem.

“He’s hiding behind procedure here,” he mentioned. “Either you understand what’s going on and you’re going to do the right thing or you don’t understand what’s going on and you’re going to continue to create all this confusion with your stance.”

The NBA players’ union, the place Irving serves as vice chairman, has not agreed to any requirement involving COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of the National Basketball Referees Association reaching an agreement with the NBA to have all its referees vaccinated. The NBA’s reported 90% vaccination rate additionally trails behind the WNBA, which mentioned practically all of its players have been vaccinated. 

“A vaccine mandate for NBA players would need an agreement with the Players Association. The NBA has made these proposals but the players’ union has rejected any vaccination requirement,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass instructed CBS News on Tuesday. 

San Francisco can be requiring proof of vaccination like New York. Golden State Warriors participant Andrew Wiggins sought a non secular exception from COVID-19, however he was rejected by the league

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Los Angeles on February 21, 2020.

Kevork S. Djansezian / Getty


Abdul-Jabbar instructed CNN vaccines and masks are “weapons to fight in this war” in opposition to the pandemic. “When you’re not gonna be cooperative with that, you’re working against the effort to make everybody safe,” he mentioned. “We can’t have that. That doesn’t work for everybody.” 

Abdul-Jabbar’s feedback on CNN come days after he condemned unvaccinated players in an interview with Rolling Stone. 

“There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research,” Abdul-Jabbar instructed the journal. 

Instead, the Los Angeles Lakers icon believes athletes should use their platform to guide the drive for extra vaccinations, saying they’ve “blood on their hands” in the event that they proceed to “promote hesitancy” and declare to wish “more research.” 

“If individual athletes can’t muster the courage to do the right thing, then the NBA and every other league governing body must step in and mandate vaccinations for players, coaches, and staff in order to protect the team, the fans, and the community,” he wrote in Substack. “Players are free to choose not to get vaccinated, but they should have the courage of their moral convictions to sit out the season, sustained in the righteousness of their choice.”  

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