The NBA season is just around the corner. The National Basketball Association has taken steps to ensure players and officials are vaccinated to safeguard everyone from infection. This is to be lauded whatever your beliefs on the subject are. However the vaccination rates are at 90% meaning there are skeptics amongst the players. Granted the AntiVAXX movement is gaining momentum especially among the far right politically inclined. Political commentators like Candice Owens have been speaking loudly against vaccines, and it is not our place to judge or criticize as they have a right to their own opinions. Today I want discuss ways in which rules for coronavirus vaccination can be applied without necessarily infringing on personal right to choice.
Granted, it is not only a political statement to refuse a vaccine. It is also a religious issue. Golden State guard Andrew Wiggins’s request for religious exemption was rejected recently. So marrying religion and science is the task now of sports bodies like NBA to do. It is doubly important because a players’ careers are at stake .They need to start by showing the benefits of vaccination. Seeing is definitely believing. Rather than forcing it down the player’s throat, a walk down to the labs that carry out studies of the coronavirus and actually talking to experts can persuade the doubters. It is good to see that at least there is some exemption status granted on medical and religious grounds. But speaking from a good place and from experience, this is open to corruption. Take the Vietnam war draft exemption. Rich people ended up dodging the draft to Vietnam after paying their way around it. Same could happen with exemption certificates. God forbid those exempted turn into super spreaders. So what is the best course of action for the NBA?
NBA players earn a ton of money so they can afford to have a test done before every single game. Make it a must to have a PCR test done before every game, whether the team pays for it or the player that is up to them. The NBA has decided to bar teams whose players do not have not received at least one dose from playing home matches. The NBA’s hardline policy on home games can trigger rebellion such as disgruntled teams forming a break away league. I suggest turning the bans into fines. Rap star Nikki Minaj came out on social media and said a cousin in Trinidad got ill after taking the vax. Some NBA players have concerns about the potential side effects from the vaccines. Their fears should be allayed again by on sight education. I can’t comment on whether their claims are true or not as that is up to experts. As a fan of basketball I want all teams to have all their players available and have a fair shake at the title. One hopes the Player’s Union and the NBA find common ground in such a touchy issue.