Five days ago, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that 90% of NBA players were vaccinated against COVID-19. However, Washington Wizards Guard Bradley Beal is not part of that group. During a recent press conference, Beal confirmed that he is not vaccinated against the virus and he did not indicate that he would receive the vaccine anytime soon.
“I don’t feel pressure [to get vaccinated],” Beal said.
“I don’t think you can pressure anybody into doing things, or putting things in their body.”
As the press conference unfolded, Beal was asked a few more questions about his decision not to get vaccinated against the virus. The former Florida Gators basketball star explained that many people in his family are vaccinated, so he understands "both sides" of the matter. He also suggested that there are things that people "don't want to talk about" regarding the virus.
“I have people very close to me that are vaccinated. Parents, brothers, etc. I understand both sides,” Beal said.
“Some people have bad reactions to the vaccine, nobody wants to talk about that.”
Beal did not specify who he was referring to when he used the word "nobody" on Monday. Contrary to Beal's response, the CDC has published reports about potential allergic reactions to the vaccine. Adding on, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also published a piece about pain, swelling, fever, etc. being potential side effects of the vaccine. Not to mention, popular media outlets like CNBC, NPR and CBS have all reported about potential side effects. Much like other shots that are regularly administered, CDC states that side effects are "normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days."
After pointing out that "nobody" wants to discuss potential side effects, Beal posed a question in response to the one that he was asked.
“I would ask the question to those who are getting vaccinated ‘why are you still getting COVID?’” Beal asked.
Immediately after Beal's question hit the internet, fans began to poke fun at the NBA All-Star.
Throughout society, cures and vaccines are often used interchangeably when they should not be. There is a COVID-19 vaccine, but there is no widely known COVID-19 cure. As a result, it is still possible for those who are vaccinated to contract the virus. With that said, scientific reports indicate that vaccines can protect the body from "severe" illnesses.
"The bottom line: COVID-19 vaccines protect people against severe illness, including disease caused by Delta and other variants circulating in the U.S. COVID-19 vaccines protect people from getting infected and severely ill, and significantly reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death," a September 2021 report from the CDC states.
"Getting vaccinated is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent infection by Delta or other variants."
Beal is not alone in his stance against the virus. Notable players like Brooklyn Nets Point Guard Kyrie Irving and Golden State Warriors Forward Andrew Wiggins remain unvaccinated. In contrast, a few NBA stars like Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been open when discussing their vaccination status.
"I have a lot of people in my family that I spend time around. I'm just not going to put their lives in danger. As a kid, I had to get shots my whole life," Lillard said during Portland Trailblazers media day.
“I have kids. And, you know, who knows, who knows how this vaccine will affect you down the road. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know right now it’s going to keep my family safe," Antetokounmpo told reporters in Milwaukee.
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has gone as far as to say that the NBA should mandate that all players be vaccinated against the virus, a measure that the NBPA has pushed back against.
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” Abdul-Jabbar told Matt Rowan of 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.”