Celebrated NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made the news earlier this week sharing his thoughts on the state of the NBA as it pertains to COVID vaccinations.
On October 4th, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer responded (on his own blog) to comments made by LeBron James regarding COVID vaccines.
Why LeBron Is Wrong About “Honoring” Vaccination Hesitancy digs into the recent concerns with Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins refusing to be vaccinated. Teammate Draymond Green defended Wiggins stating
“There is something to be said for people’s concerns about something that’s being pressed so hard. Why are you pressing this so hard? You have to honor people’s feelings and their own personal beliefs.”
LeBron James, arguably the most visible NBA player of this era responded that he “couldn’t have said it better myself.”
Kareem responded with “Actually, it couldn’t have been said worse.”
The only support for Draymond’s statement is his belief that when people “press hard” there’s something inherently wrong with their opinion. There is no logic to that statement. If I press hard against institutional racism, if I press hard against police brutality, if I press hard against recent laws making it harder for minorities to vote, if I press hard against child porn, if I press hard in support of MeToo am I automatically wrong? On the contrary, the passion of those urging vaccines might suggest there’s some urgency to their opinion. That the situation is serious and we need to take immediate action to protect people. That thousands are dying every day, mostly among the unvaccinated. That the Black community, where vaccine hesitancy is high, are dying at a disproportionately higher rate than whites. That publicly talking about honoring opinions that contribute to their deaths is irresponsible.
Abdul-Jabbar ends with this allegory:
I think of the situation like those old fire brigades when people stood in a line passing buckets of water to save their neighbor’s house from burning to the ground. Maybe some people were afraid to join the line. But when the town leaders joined in, it encouraged others to do their duty. Today’s celebrities and athletes are like those town leaders. You either join the line to save your neighbor’s home, or you stand by and let it burn because you don’t owe them anything.
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