SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — To say the least, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been outspoken when it comes to NBA players who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
He has been firm with his stance on criticizing players’ views against the vaccine — speaking out on publications such as Rolling Stone, CNN and even on his own essay on Substack.
“Athletes and other celebrities have a public platform to help alleviate this crisis and to save lives. To not take on that responsibility harms the sports and entertainment industries, the community, and the country,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote in his Substack. “This position only perpetuates the stereotype of the dumb jock who’s only in sports for the money. It dehumanizes the victims as nothing more than political fodder.”
Abdul-Jabbar added if the athletes are not able to step up and do the right thing to get vaccinated, the league must step in and make vaccination a requirement for all players, coaches and staff.
Later in his essay, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer said the anti-vaccine stances discredit medical experts’ opinion but only when it comes to a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I assure you that when an athlete has a broken leg or heart attack or their child is in an accident, they don’t say to the doctors, “Don’t do anything until I do more research,’” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “They beg the medical experts to help.”
The six-time NBA champion was likely referencing to the the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins who suggested — though not explicitly — during the team’s media day on Monday he is not vaccinated.
Brooklyn Nets’ star Kyrie Irving expressed a similar vague position on his vaccination status, according to a clip shown on CNN.
Irving (New York) and Wiggins (San Francisco) play their respective home games in cities where vaccination is required for everyone, including participants, in large indoor gatherings.
If both choose to remain unvaccinated for the entire season, the two won’t be allowed to play in their respective 41 games at home due to local mandates.
Wiggins tried to get a religious exemption from the vaccine but was denied by the NBA, per a league statement sent out Friday.