NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league has discussed having players receive the COVID-19 vaccine to help educate the public on their safety and effectiveness during Sportico's virtual conference on Tuesday.
Acknowledging that the NBA is a primarily Black league and African Americans' history of being underserved by the American health care system, Silver specifically singled out the African-American community as Blacks have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
"In the African American community, there's been enormously disparate impact from COVID," Silver said. "But now, somewhat perversely, there's been enormous resistance [to vaccinations] in the African American community for understandable historical reasons...If that resistance continues, it would be very much a double whammy to the Black community, because the only way out of this pandemic is to get vaccinated."
The commissioner continued by adding that health experts have said that public figures with large platforms could serve a large benefit by getting vaccinated and encouraging others to do so as well.
"Several public health officials -- and this is operating state by state right now -- have suggested there would be a real public health benefit to getting some very high-profile African Americans vaccinated to demonstrate to the larger community that it is safe and effective," Silver said. "At the appropriate time, whenever that is and whether that's directed federally by NIH or CDC or ultimately state-by-state programs, we think there's real value in our players demonstrating to a broader community how important it is to get vaccinated."
Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, Michele Roberts, stated that she believes many players are hesitant to get vaccinated, based on the conversations she's had. She also admitted that she's not yet convinced that the vaccines are safe.
"I've heard they want Black influencers to step up, convince the Black community to do this," Roberts said in an interview last month. "I'm just waiting on the tap on the shoulder to say, 'Michele, will the players do this?' I know it's coming. But I haven't made up my mind. I'm eager to be convinced that these are safe. I'm hopeful I'll be convinced that they're safe. But I'm not a cheerleader."
Since January 10th, the NBA has had to postpone 14 games as a result of the current coronavirus outbreak spreading throughout the league.
Source: Yahoo Sports