Unfortunately, several elite NBA players used their return to camp to voice their (deeply uninformed) views on the Covid-19 vaccination and its efficacy.
* Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, when asked about his vaccination status, replied “I’m a human being first” before noting that “there’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie, but I would like to keep that private.” (Well, at least Chris Cillizza approves of going third person, Kyrie.)
While Lopez tried to make light of the situation, the fact that so many high-profile NBA players are spewing misinformation or publicly refusing to discuss their vaccination status has real-world implications.
As the Kaiser Family Foundation noted recently:
“Black people have received smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases, deaths, and the total population in more than half of states reporting data. In the remaining reporting states, the share of vaccinations they have received is similar to their shares of cases, deaths, and the total population. For example, in Florida, Black people have received 9% of vaccinations, while they make up 15% of cases, 17% of deaths, and 15% of the total population.”
While the racial gap has closed somewhat in recent months, it still exists. Which is where, in theory, some of these hugely famous NBA players could have a real impact. An endorsement of the vaccine by, say Irving or Beal could actually convince some people who had been skeptical to get the jab.
Instead, these players are doing the exact opposite. They are using their massive platforms (and influence) to fuel misinformation and misunderstanding.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said Tuesday that he is now vaccinated against Covid-19, after he initially was very skeptical of the vaccine. James said he had decided to get the vaccine after doing research.
I can’t say it any better. Leaders lead. And what Beal, Irving, Kuzma, Wiggins and others are doing is the opposite of real leadership.
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