NBA rumors: Bradley Beal is a vaccine skeptic

More on Coronavirus Vaccine

Ben Rohrbach: Bradley Beal on his bout with COVID-19, which cost him the Olympics: "I didn’t get sick at all. I lost my smell. That’s it.” Beal adds that no one will talk about adverse reactions to the vaccine and how it impacts player health. No NBA player has missed time due to the vaccine.
Chris Herrington: Ja Morant shares that he is vaccinated. (As did Desmond Bane earlier.) "I got vaccinated early. ... I have a baby girl. I travel a lot. I can't bring COVID back to her."
Duvalier Johnson: JaMychal Green on vaccination status:”Everybody is grown, it’s they own decision.” He went on to say he is fully vaccinated and he hopes that everyone jumps on board. pic.twitter.com/2yLEusYUQa
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving joins Nets media day remotely. On if he expects to be compliant with vaccination to play: “I would love to keep that private and handle that the right way with my team. Obviously I’m not able to be present there today.” He adds he’s not putting limits for future. pic.twitter.com/00fYCtBcNR
Jeff Zillgitt: Reporter tries to get more info from Kyrie Irving on vaccine/possibly not being available for home games per New York City ordinance: "Please respect my privacy. Next question."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving said he doesn't want to be a distraction to the Nets' pursuit of a title. "This is the last thing I wanted to create, more distractions."
Gina Mizell: Doc declines to share exactly how many Sixers players are vaccinated, but emphasizes "It's not a concern for us. We are very, very, very good."
Malika Andrews: Blake Griffin, who has done PSAs encouraging COVID-19 vaccines, tells ESPN he did his own research early on and felt comfortable getting vaccinated. He said it’s an individual decision, but added he believes it’s an integral part of moving forward. Science agrees.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: If individual athletes can’t muster the courage to do the right thing, then the NBA and every other league governing body must step in and mandate vaccinations for players, coaches, and staff in order to protect the team, the fans, and the community. Players are free to choose not to get vaccinated, but they should have the courage of their moral convictions to sit out the season, sustained in the righteousness of their choice. They’ve already proven they are not team players.
Adam Zagoria: James Harden on Kyrie not being here: "I’ll let you guys listen to what he has to say about that. Obviously Ky is a huge part of what we’re trying to do."
Ian Begley: Kyrie Irving will not be at Media Day in Brooklyn today, sources confirm. NYC mandate states that all Knicks/Nets need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to practice/play home games in NYC. Nets training camp is in San Diego. Irving may talk to media via Zoom. ESPN first reported.
Ira Winderman: Just arrived to FTX Arena for Heat media day. Have been told privately that Heat "do not expect any issues" regarding vaccination status of players. Told it is covered and "taken care of." NBA has severe, strict protocols for players not vaccinated.
Kellan olson: Devin Booker on his Twitch stream (http://twitch.tv/dbook ) confirms he has COVID-19. Said it has been about a week and he'll be back in no time. He said he's straight right now and the worst part is no taste and smell. He did not want to say if he has been vaccinated or not.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, told Rolling Stone. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.” Tyki Irving runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to Rolling Stone’s questions regarding his vaccination and playing status. Irving also did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone.
Jonathan Isaac: Misrepresentation only allows for others to attack straw men, and not reason with the true ideas and heart of their fellow man. It helps no one! True journalism is dying! I believe it is your God given right to decide if taking the vaccine is right for you! Period! More to follow
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” says Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, who runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.”
A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to a list of questions regarding his vaccination and playing status, and Irving did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone. But as teams return to pre-season training camps next week, fifty to sixty NBA players have yet to receive a single vaccine dose, league sources tell RS. Most are considered merely reluctant skeptics. Some of the holdouts, however, amount to their own shadow roster of anti-vaxxers mounting a behind-the-scenes resistance to Covid protocols — and the truth.
Isaac considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities. He rejects the NBA’s proposal for a vaccine mandate and social distancing for players like him during team travel: “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus? To me, it doesn’t seem logically consistent. “If you are vaccinated, in other places you still have to wear the mask regardless. It’s like, ‘OK, then what is the mask necessarily for?’” Isaac continues. “And if Kyrie says that from his position of his executive power in the NBPA, then kudos to him.”
Enes Kanter — the veteran center, devout Muslim and outspoken liberal — senses a creep of the religious right upon his workplace, which just happens to involve players like Isaac sweating all over him and yelling in his face: “If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” he tells RS. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?’”
Confusion and concern has been rampant this week among the Warriors’ organization as disparate situations played out with Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga, who were both thought to have refused the vaccination against coronavirus with less than a handful of days before training camp opens. Just as San Francisco clarified its rules Friday, it became increasingly clear that Wiggins is still unvaccinated and won’t be allowed into Chase Center for games, while Kuminga is at the very least in the process of being vaccinated.
The Chronicle learned this week that the team is also concerned about the vaccination status of Kuminga. Earlier this week, a league source said that Kuminga, the seventh pick in this year’s NBA draft, was not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, in a text thread with The Chronicle, Kuminga indicated he was at least on his way to becoming vaccinated. He first said he wanted to check to see if he needed to get another shot before the start of the season, then said a second shot would come Oct. 22. Finally, the rookie forward said: “I’m vaccinated, man.”
Sean Cunningham: Andrew Wiggins request for religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination denied by the NBA. League statement below. pic.twitter.com/kXFGXiS8hy

http://twitter.com/SeanCunningham/status/1441550135540867078
Next, the team tried dangling the NBA’s updated and more relaxed COVID protocols, which made life easier for vaccinated players. They faced fewer tests, had fewer restrictions and, crucially, were not required to quarantine after an exposure to the virus. The unvaccinated players still didn’t budge. Finally, the team tried appealing to the players’ self-interests. There was money to be made in the postseason, it told the players, whether via playoff bonuses, contract incentives, or by flourishing under the spotlight and burnishing their respective reputations.
That pitch didn’t work, either. The team finished the season with less than 70% of its players vaccinated. "We tried everything," a staff member from that team told FOX Sports. "None of it mattered."
Now, with the 2021-22 regular season just a month away and players returning to their local markets for training camp next week, a number of NBA organizations find themselves confronting similar challenges, only with more urgency. The combination of new league protocols and more stringent local regulations could create an environment in which vaccine hesitancy becomes an issue that impacts on-court results. In other words, the final standings this season could very well be impacted by the vaccination status of players.
The NBA, according to a league spokesman, believes that around 85% of its players are currently vaccinated; National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts put the number at 90% during a July interview with Yahoo Sports. Those numbers are about 10-to-15% more than the overall rate of American adults who are vaccinated. But that still means that somewhere between 50 and 70 NBA players remain unvaccinated, an average of more than two per squad. Depending on how those players are grouped, what city they play in, and how good they are, it’s clear that any team entering the season with low vaccination rates will be at a competitive disadvantage.
Chris Kirschner: The Hawks will be 100 percent vaccinated by the start of the season. One player is receiving his second shot next week.
Two days after Sean Marks told the media he’s “confident” that his team will meet league and city standards on COVID vaccinations by Opening Night, Yaron Weitzman of FOX Sports reports that Irving “has yet to receive a vaccine shot,” citing “multiple league sources,” not further identified. Specifically, here’s what Weitzman reported Thursday afternoon, as part of a larger piece on the status of the NBA’s vaccination policies days before the opening of training camp... According to multiple league sources, Irving has yet to receive a vaccine shot. Both the Nets and a spokeswoman for Irving declined to comment on the record
James said his vaccination status was a “family” conversation and “private thing” when he was asked about it in May. Earlier in the month, former Laker point guard Dennis Schröder told a German-language publication that he and James were the only Lakers players who hadn’t received the vaccine, before later telling reporters he was the only Laker not vaccinated. Dwight Howard previously questioned the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines during an Instagram Live in July 2020. Kent Bazemore also told reporters that he wasn’t planning on getting the vaccine. Back in March, when he was with the Warriors, he said he considered the decision a “lifestyle thing.” Pelinka did not name which players have yet to be vaccinated.
So, while it's a pertinent question for any professional sports team these days, the Wizards' vaccination rate arguably carries more importance as they prepare to enter a new season. Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard addressed the media on Thursday ahead of the team's training camp opening next week and was asked a series of questions about the team's vaccination efforts. He stopped short of specifics to protect players' privacy. "Everything is great. We have our roster, everybody is fully-educated and fully-informed. We will be in compliance and we're looking forward to the season," Sheppard said. "A lot of that stuff, you're getting into some personal and private information. We're not going to go down that road. But we'll be in great compliance with the NBA and moving forward."
Bill Oram: Rob Pelinka just said on Zoom the Lakers will be a "fully vaccinated" team by opening night. Pelinka said he is "grateful we won't have interruptions by unvaccinated status of a player or a staff member."
San Francisco requires full vaccination to be allowed indoors for entertainment, including large events like NBA games at 18,000-seat Chase Center. New York City is the only other NBA market currently facing such restrictions. League sources believe the NBA will grant Wiggins a religious exemption, but San Francisco has the power to override it inside the city.
Joe Mussatto: The Thunder will require full or partial COVID vaccinations for fans, or a negative test 72 hours prior to a game, the team announced.
Marc Davis, the a member of the executive board of the basketball referees' union and a referee himself for more than two decades, said in an interview that the agreement was born of a strong relationship with the NBA, and the referees were broadly in favor of the mandate. This conversation has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. Can you tell me how the vaccine mandate came about? Marc Davis: When you have a collaborative environment between management and labor, I think you're constantly always working through issues and there's a constant dialogue back and forth. I think if I would have to say who introduced the idea, I think it's more the relationship and the constant conversation that came up.
Was there a significant amount of resistance from those within the union whom this would affect? Marc Davis: From a numbers perspective, I would say no. But their voices were heard. We articulated their concerns. We worked through those issues. A principle issue that was of concern was the FDA approval. And we worked through that issue to where one of the things we negotiated was that no one would be required prior to FDA approval. So that's kind of a common-sense approach to it. You know, obviously, FDA approval came at or about the same time that we reached the agreement. With the understanding that the players are your co-workers, was there resistance along the lines of 'Why should we agree to a mandate if the players haven't agreed to one?' Marc Davis: No, because we know that when we initially began our conversations that they had begun conversations as well. We just reached an agreement prior to them. We did it at our own pace. We weren't concerned with another group's decision.
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA has informed teams of set coronavirus testing protocols for players for the 2021-22 season: Fully-vaccinated: No regular testing Non-fully-vaccinated: One negative test on Practice/Travel day; One negative test on Game Day.
NBA players will not be mandated to get vaccinated against COVID-19, league sources tell ESPN. The NBA and NBPA continue to negotiate aspects of COVID-related protocols and procedures for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign, but the NBPA has refused to budge on whether players would be mandated to take the vaccine, sources say, and that aspect of negotiations remains a "non-starter."
Roughly 85% of players are vaccinated, a league spokesman recently said, and, in a preliminary memo obtained by ESPN in early September, the league outlined a set of strict protocols for unvaccinated players. Such protocols include having lockers far from vaccinated teammates or having to eat, fly and ride buses in different sections. These protocols are not final and are still subject to talks with the NBPA.
The N.B.A. players' union did not respond to a request for comment on where it stands on vaccine mandates. In June, the W.N.B.A. announced that 99 percent of its players had been fully vaccinated. A spokesman for the N.B.A. said that number was approximately 85 percent for N.B.A. players, and that the league was “in discussions with the union on a variety of topics for the season including vaccinations.”
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October 23, 2021 | 1:41 pm EDT Update
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Michele Roberts calls out Sixers GM Daryl Morey

In an exclusive statement to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, Roberts urged everyone to be respectful and supportive of Simmons as he works through a tough time. She also called out Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s comments about continuing this standoff with Simmons for the four remaining years of his contract. “Really? Is it so hard to believe that Ben’s not mentally at a place to compete? Professional athletes — like the rest of us — have difficult periods in our lives that require time and energy to heal. We have and will continue to provide Ben with the support and resources he needs to work through this. Threatening the prospect of ‘another four years’ serves no one’s interests. Like Tobias [Harris], I say let’s respect Ben’s space and embrace him while allowing him the time to move forward. “So, take a breath and count to 10: We are all too good to continue to play this perpetual game of chicken.”
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The Wizards then flipped a draft pick for Aaron Holiday and signed Spencer Dinwiddie as part of the trade. Kuzma put on his GM hat after Friday’s game to evaluate the deal in hindsight. “I mean, you gotta do that trade 10 out of 10 times. If you have an opportunity to get five good basketball players for one, it makes sense. Granted, [Westbrook is] obviously a Hall of Fame player and everything. He’s an unbelievable player, don’t take that wrong,” Kuzma said.
Mark Medina: Lakers coach Frank Vogel taking issue with Dwight Howard and Klay Thompson not being on NBA Top 75 list. Vogel called it “surreal” that LeBron, AD, Westbrook and Melo are all on the list

Storyline: NBA's 75 Greatest Players