“The NBA should insist that all players and staff be vaccinated or remove them from the squad,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“There is no place for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, staff and supporters simply because they are unable to grasp the gravity of the situation or to do the research. required. “
Abdul-Jabbar expanded on this point during an interview with Don Lemon Tonight on Monday, saying, “I don’t think they behave like good teammates or good citizens. It is a war in which we are involved. And masks and vaccines – these are the weapons we are using to wage this war. “
Abdul-Jabbar has been a strong advocate for obtaining the Covid-19 vaccine. The great NBA player received his shot on camera and appeared in an NBA public service announcement encouraging others to get the shot.
New York and San Francisco were a game-changer in August when they demanded that NBA players on their home teams be vaccinated. This could mean that stars of NBA teams in those cities could not play, unless they are medically or religiously exempt.
Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was not physically present with his teammates on the Nets’ annual media day on Monday. But Irving remotely answered a question about the problem.
Irving has not disclosed his vaccine status – nor has he said whether he expects to be vaccinated or compliant by the time the Nets return home after their preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. He said he wanted to “keep these things private”.
“I am first and foremost a human being,” Irving said. “Obviously living in this public sphere, it’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in Kyrie’s world and I think I’d just like to keep this private and run it the right way, with my team and move on. ‘forward with the plan. “
Abdul-Jabbar later told CNN’s Don Lemon that he “could not accept” Irving’s statement. “He’s hiding behind the proceedings here. 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 keep creating all this confusion with your position. “
Abdul-Jabbar also denounced vaccine deniers in the Rolling Stone article.
“What I find particularly misleading about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance towards disbelieving immunology and other medical experts,” he told Rolling Stone. “Yet if their child was sick or if they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?” “
During his interview with Lemon, Abdul-Jabbar touched on the misinformation about vaccines, saying, “The more widespread the ignorance, the easier it is to confuse people about what is going on.
“We have to educate ourselves to understand what is on offer. These vaccines are safe and effective. And we have to fight this virus as a group. We can’t let some people be like, “Well, I’m not doing it”. no need to do that. It’s madness, ”said Abdul-Jabbar.
As reluctance to vaccinate decreases, some parts of the population are even more hesitant than others.
Black Americans are the least vaccinated demographic, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimated in August that 25% of the black population in the United States was fully vaccinated. Of the American population who are fully vaccinated, only 9% are black. However, this data is incomplete – the CDC reports that race and ethnicity data is only available for 68% of people who are fully vaccinated.
Abdul-Jabbar spoke about the importance of reaching out to those who are reluctant to get vaccinated, especially those in the minority community.
“We have to earn the trust of minority communities by showing them that the vaccine is working and that it is in their best interests to take the vaccine,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in March. “The problem in the past was that no one wanted to give them the last treatment. “
He referred to Tuskegee’s experience, when researchers unethically refused treatment for black men with syphilis between 1932 and 1972, allowing the disease to progress.
Abdul-Jabbar said athletes and celebrities may be able to help those who are reluctant to get vaccinated.
“A lot of people in minority communities respect the athletes who go there and take their word for things like this,” he told CNN in March. “Every time this happens, it allows more people to get the vaccines they need and help us beat this Covid-19 case. “
CNN’s Nicquel Terry Ellis contributed to this report.