There’s been too much ignorant and hypocritical vaccination sentiments spouted lately by NBA players. Draymond Green entered the fray Friday with one of the more maddening takes:
“It’s become very political,” Green pontificated. “And for someone who’s not extremely into politics, when you make something so political and not everyone is into politics, then you also turn those people off.”
Really? We’ve gone from ‘More than an Athlete’ to ‘Just an Athlete’ faster than a Joey Crawford technical. Perhaps Green doesn’t see the hypocrisy in using the same reasoning as those who claimed TV ratings fell because NBA players amplified Black Lives Matters.
Mind you, this is the same Draymond Green, a three-time champion, who skipped a trip to Donald Trump’s White House because “Our goal is to effect some change and use our platform to do that.”
Jumping to ‘I don’t do politics’ diminishes the message.
Green and his Warriors teammates were largely applauded for their White House stance, as was the decision by players to sit out games in the Orlando bubble to bring awareness to police brutality.
The players became influential voices on politics and social issues, which can’t be wiped away or separated from a historically deadly pandemic. It’s not enough to be vaccinated when the messaging is that it was accomplished begrudgingly or only because of a mandate. Green is vaccinated, for instance, but he’d lose half his salary without the shot because of laws in San Francisco. Most people don’t have to worry about forfeiting millions of dollars because they can’t play home games.
Explanations like “it’s a personal choice” and “I will do my own research” aren’t freethinking or courageously rebellious. They’re anti-science. They’re entitled. And selfish.
As the players understand — and many have experienced — their risk of serious complications from COVID-19 are extremely low. They’re young and exceptionally healthy.
Yes, there are breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals who can spread the virus. But there are overwhelming and undeniable facts attached to the benefit of widespread vaccination.
And after 700,000 people died in the United States — a sad and somber record in this country — Green had the nerve to ask Friday, “Why are you pressing [vaccines] so hard? Like so much. You’re just pressing and pressing and pressing.”
Green and Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins must know that people are paying attention. They’ve established themselves as influencers. They must know that some 17-year-old is listening and is now skeptical of the vaccine because his heroes are skeptical. This 17-year-old may have an 80-year-old grandmother living inside his home, or a family member with diabetes.
The players should know they’ve taken vaccines from birth, and these vaccines have eradicated diseases. They should know the vaccines are safe and effective, which can be verified by their team doctors and don’t require cross-checking with conspiracy theorists on YouTube or Facebook.
Unfortunately, it’s too late to undo the messaging from NBA players of the last few weeks. In the most deadly event of their lifetimes — one that disproportionately affects minorities and lower-income people — they dropped the ball.
Draymond Green looks on during the first half of a Women's Basketball Preliminary Round Group B game between France and the USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 02, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/TNS)