Kyrie, the vaccine and the ‘Satan plan’

After the pandemic has drastically marked the last two NBA seasons, its effect will continue to be felt in this, as in all orders of society, although a return to something already much more similar to normality is intended: more conventional calendar (82 matches per team in the October-June framework), already general public in the stands and less presence of protocols and controls in the daily life of the franchises. But this one, 2021-22, may be the vaccine season.

OR of the non-vaccines. And the effect that this decision can have at the sports level in an NBA that has not forced the players to be vaccinated. Yes, it has done it with its workers, with the referees, franchise employees, those who do their work near the courts and equipment (television broadcasting personnel, for example) … But not with the players. And not all have been vaccinated. And that can be a problem, even a very serious one, for the League … but especially for its teams.

The matter, which has been gaining media relevance as the beginning of the course is thrown at us, has definitely jumped up in the air due to a devastating article in Rolling stone from award-winning journalist Matt Sullivan, who has worked for The Atlantic, New York Times, The Guardian and Bleacher Report, and that he has published a book on the Nets by Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden. So has access and a lot of information about the stars of one of the most important teams in this coming crisis So what Sullivan describes like this in the title and subtitle of his excellent article:The anti-vaccines are trying to impose their agenda on the NBA … and it’s working. Conspiracy theories hit the locker room. The policy of wearing masks in the halls. Superstar who refuse to get vaccinated. After bringing back COVID culture, basketball faces its own civil war“.

At the gates of the start of the preseason with the opening of the training camps, an issue that has been recurring since the end of last season has jumped directly to the fore. Shams Charania assured that 90% of the players have been vaccinated, and that this figure has been increasing notably as the official preseason approached.. And Rob Pelinka, the big shot from the Lakers dispatches, he assured in his first public appearance of the course that the Angelenos will have “100% of the squad vaccinated” on the first night of the regular season, on October 19 (Lakers-Warriors at the Staples Center) . But, of course, there are other teams in which the situation is not so clear, and that 90% is below the percentage to which, for example, the most conservative NFL has reached.

Sullivan’s article relieve the problems of the NBA to implement its agenda as soon as the players have raised the flag of their individual freedoms, something that began with the rejection of mandatory total vaccination at the union’s telematic meeting (NBPA) on August 7. Conspiracy theories, the blind influence of religion, and countercultural vision Some stars are pairing to create a formidable problem, something that worries the NBA because of the ease of spread of the Delta variant. Sullivan speaks of the horror with which executives and workers of the League explain that Kyrie Irving, already identified as one of those who have rejected the vaccine, and others give shelter to conspiracy that point to a great design to control the black population through the vaccine and a super computer to follow a plan of Satan. Moderna’s vaccine would serve, according to them, to introduce microchips of control.

Kyrie Irving’s aunt, Tyki, who is in charge of running his foundation and who is part of his circle of maximum trust, has spoken with Sullivan: “There are so many players besides him who do not want to be vaccinated that I think they will find a way to assert themselves. their position. There has to be some formula for the NBA and the players to come to an agreement. There should be some way for the players to continue interacting and stay on the court but with the limitations of those who are trying to oppress you. Kyrie will figure out what to do. It is not a religious question, it is a moral question. If it is so important to get a vaccine that is not preventing infections, I would rather not be part of that than to be told that if you do not get vaccinated you cannot be part of the fucking franchise that you have helped to build. “

The article also quotes the words of Jonathan Isaac, well known in the NBA for a radical religious stance that already made him position himself apart from the rest of the players in the social struggle that developed in the Florida bubble. The Magic forward is another one who wants nothing to do with science: “Ultimately, it’s about people, and you can’t put all your hope entirely on people alone.” And he believes that the anti-vaccines are being judged unfairly and that they are being marginalized: “You can play on the same court, touch the same ball, crash chest to chest … but when you have to get on the bus, do we have Than to sit in separate places? It doesn’t make any sense to me. If you are vaccinated and you have to wear a mask, then what is the mask for? And if Kyrie says all that from his position of strength in the players union, good for him.“.

Ahead, luckily, other voices are raised as well. Turkish Enes Kanter, now back with the Celtics, says that (he is Muslim) he is having conversations with those who frown on the vaccine for religious reasons: “Anyone who thinks it is a matter of religion should think that it is the time for religion and science to shake hands. I have spoken with many religious people and I have told them that the vaccine saves lives and that what could be more important than that. ” “If you are a player and you are not vaccinated and you have to be a week or two off the court, that can totally change the season. And our goal is to be champions.” Sullivan’s article furthermore singles out the Celtics as one of the teams with “multiple players who haven’t been vaccinated yet.”

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the first to be vaccinated in public to try to raise awareness among the African American population, hhas attacked with maximum severity those who do not choose to be vaccinated in the NBA: “The NBA has to insist that all players and all staff are vaccinated or separate from the teams. There does not have to be room for players who are willing to risk the lives of their teammates and everyone else just because they are unable to take the situation seriously enough or do a proper investigation. What strikes me the most hypocritical about the deniers is their arrogance and the way they don’t give credit to immunology and other medical specialties. But if your child is ill or they need emergency treatment, how quickly will they do exactly what those same experts tell them to do? They do not live up to their fame and status. Athletes are not required to be government spokespersons, but this is a public health issue. African American athletes who don’t help their people get vaccinated are contributing to the deaths that are taking place. And that perpetuates the stereotype that marks them as stupid who are unable to understand scientific evidence and draw logical conclusions. “

An extra problem in San Francisco and New York

Kyrie is clearly already on the unvaccinated lot, and Sullivan acknowledges that he has not obtained clear information on the two great stars of the Nets, Kevin Durant and James Harden., who also play in New York, where the rules are specifically stricter. As in San Francisco, a city in which the Warriors do not know what to do with an Andrew Wiggins who continues to reject the vaccine. Both cities oblige all those who want to be in closed areas with high occupancy to be vaccinated. For example, in the NBA halls. That makes Warriors (San Francisco) and Knicks and Nets (New York) players who are not vaccinated will not be able to play the games that their teams play at home, in total 41 of the 82 of the season. For Wiggins, after the NBA has rejected his request not to be vaccinated for religious reasons, it would mean a loss of $ 350,000 per night absent for a total of losses that can reach 15.8 million. For his team, it would be a tremendous mess to have him on some days and not others. A problem that would be drastic in the playoffs, where in addition the appearance of an outbreak could jeopardize the outcome of the season the franchise in question passes.

On Fox Sports, Yaron Weitzman published an article a couple of days ago in which he expressed the concern that is spreading among the teams. 90% of those vaccinated are 15% above the average for adults in the United States, but they continue to about 60-70 unvaccinated players, an average of two per franchise. And in addition to the Wiggins case, there are the two teams from the Big Apple that they could not have unvaccinated players in their home games either. Or one, because Knicks general manager Scott Perry has confirmed that the Knicks roster has reached “100 percent vaccination.”

In the Nets the situation is more difficult because Weitzman He had already assured that one of those who has not received any dose yet is Kyrie Irving. And with a star of such a level in the trigger, the matter is very delicate for the big favorite to the ring. His manager, Sean Marks, spoke about it without naming names: “If we were to play right now there are a couple of people who would not be in the photo. I will not go into who, but we trust that in the next few days, before training camp, everyone can be available. We have had very sincere conversations, everyone knows what is at stake …“The unvaccinated in San Francisco and New York could neither play nor train when the teams are at their respective venues.

In the article, an executive anonymously explains the desperation with which they see how all strategies fail: an attempt was made to give talks with scientific experts to players who doubted or directly rejected the vaccine; An attempt was made to convince them by relying on the quality of life: in principle, those vaccinated will have to pass far fewer controls, they will be subjected to fewer protocols and fewer restrictions and they will not have to quarantine if they have been in contact with the virus as long as they test negative in a test. For those not vaccinated, this quarantine will be seven days, although the NBA continues to work on its final protocols with the players union and Sullivan ensures that the agenda of the players anti-vaccine will impose points such as not conducting tests on days off either for those who are not vaccinated or that the rules of social distance in travel are only one recommendation and not one obligation.

And it has been tried, by the executives of the franchises, even the economic route: not being in the playoffs, for example, leaves players without a good extra cash and without exposure at the peak of the year, when many great contracts are won or claimed. But nothing has worked with those who are still anchored in the no. An issue that continues to gain importance and that begins to be of real gravity for the NBA two days after the start of the training camp.

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