Pro Sport Athletes Refuse to be Vaccinated


Eirini Schoinas

Prominent pro sport players in the NBA and NFL remain unvaccinated, sparking controversy from fans and teams

Over 90% of the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) athletes have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, however, some of the remaining players in the 10% have made their beliefs of the vaccine quite clear. These players have expressed doubt about the legitimacy and effectiveness of the vaccine. Players have many different reasons as to why they want to stay unvaccinated.

Perhaps the most prominent of the unvaccinated athletes, Basketball player Kyrie Irving, has openly expressed his beliefs through his social media and disclosed information. The Brooklyn Nets office has required Irving to get the vaccine in order to practice or play with the team. As this story develops, a protest at the Brooklyn Nets home opener in defense of Irving sparked , Irving reportedly liked tweets suggesting radical viewpoints about the virus. This developing story revealed the Brooklyn Nets front office has now required Irving to get the vaccine in order to practice or play with the team. Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash said, “This is a difficult decision. But I think it was a sound one and one that makes complete sense to everyone.”

Sophomore Diego Hodge, a Basketball fan said, “I absolutely agree with the Brooklyn Nets’ decision […] because taking the vaccine should be a choice made without personal reason or opinion. […] there is a pandemic that is killing people, and taking the vaccine lowers the risk of that.” 

Senior Owen Smiley, another sports fan, said, “I think it’s their decision, but I also think that if they care about competing, […] they should do the necessary steps so that everyone has that option.” 

Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver Cole Beasley publicized his refusal to get vaccinated via a thread of tweets on Twitter. 

“Vaccinated players can go out of the hotel and bring COVID back into where I am. So what does it matter if I stay in the hotel now?” Beasley tweeted.

After critical backlash from Twitter users, Beasley deactivated his Twitter account and, since then, no new information has been released about his status, but Bills fans have recently booed him at their home games.

Denver Nuggets Forward Michael Porter Jr. has also spoken out about not getting the vaccine. 

“For me, I don’t feel comfortable,” he said in an interview with The Denver Post

In the interview, Porter Jr., who is 23-years-old, said he contracted the virus two separate times in the past, but did not experience any kind of agonizing symptoms. He added there is a likelihood he could have a negative and painful reaction to the vaccine, and says this is why he feels uncomfortable with getting it.

Orlando Magic Forward Jonathan Isaac is reportedly unvaccinated according to a press conference in September, however did not voice any negative thoughts about it.

“I’m not anti-Vax. I’m not anti-medicine. I’m not anti-science,” Isaac said in the interview.  

Isaac added that he is uncomfortable with getting his shot, and proceeded to state everyone should be free to make their own decision about vaccination without fear of backlash from peers. After revealing in the interview he had been diagnosed with the virus, Isaac now claims he is invulnerable to threats it poses.

Containment of the virus in the NBA and NFL have reached the large majority, 90%, proving the league’s have been doing a good job in that aspect. The 10% sample in each league has certainly expressed their opinions on the matter though. Only time will tell if these players will be able to participate in their sports this upcoming season.