As NBA legends like Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar push for the league to mandate vaccines for players and staff, some players are voicing their hesitancy to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In an interview on Monday, Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac addressed questions on his vaccine hesitancy.
"I would start with, I've had COVID in the past and so our understanding of antibodies of natural immunity has changed a great deal from the onset of the pandemic and is still evolving," Isaac told reporters.
"I understand that the vaccine would help if you catch COVID and you'll be able to have less symptoms from contracting it but with me having COVID in the past and having antibodies, with my current age group and a fitness physical fitness level, it's not necessarily a fear of mine," Isaac continued.
Isaac noted that while getting the vaccine would diminish his chances of having a severe reaction to COVID-19, getting the vaccine would open him up to the "possibility of having an adverse reaction to the vaccine itself."
"I don't believe that being unvaccinated means infected or being vaccinated means uninfected," said Isaac. "You can still catch COVID with or with not having the vaccine. I would say honestly the the craziness of it all in terms of not being able to say that it should be everybody's fair choice without being demeaned or talked crazy to doesn't make one comfortable to do what said person is telling them to do."
On Tuesday afternoon, Isaac expressed his gratitude on Twitter for those who support him and express similar views.
"Thank you!! I just wanted to show how badly I was misrepresented/ share my views on things. To see that many share my opinion is encouraging! Whether you are vaxxed or not you’re free to your own convictions And I stand with you and against bullying! Keep the faith and God bless!" Isaac wrote on Twitter.
Also on Monday, Washington Wizards player Bradley Beal addressed similar questions from reporters.
"Every player, every person in his world is gonna make their own decision for themselves. I would like an explanation to, you know, people with vaccines, why are they still getting COVID?" Beal said.
"If that's something that we are supposed to highly be protected from, like, that's funny that, oh, it reduces your chances of going to the hospital. It doesn't eliminate anybody from getting COVID. Right?" he continued.
Beal added that with him personally having COVID-19 before, he has antibodies that protect him similar to the protection offered by the vaccine, and like those protections, he still faces the possibility of contracting and passing COVID-19 on to others.
These statements from players comes as the Rolling Stone published an article labeling some of these players as following "conspiracy theories" regarding their choice to get vaccinated.
The outlet interviewed NBA Hall of Fame legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who said that "the NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team."
"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," he added.
"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?" Abdul-Jabbar continued.