by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One of the most remarkable twists in the pandemic is that a handful of NBA players have emerged as the most cogent and principled defenders of liberty, common sense, and basic civic decency in America.
It’s a bit unexpected. In recent years, the NBA has most often landed in the political news cycle thanks to LeBron James’ disgusting habit of bowing and scraping before the Chinese Communist Party, or Steve Kerr’s refusal to breathe a word about the suppression of protests in Hong Kong or the oppression of Uighur Muslims while lecturing everyone on the evils of systemic racism and gun ownership in America.
If you had said a year ago that 24-year-old Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic, or the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, or Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving would somehow be voices of calm, reason, and tolerance amid a moral panic about COVID-19 vaccines pushed relentlessly by corporate media and the Democratic Party, no one would have believed you. Yet here we are.
Green spoke for millions of Americans during a press conference last week when he said the vaccine debate “has turned into a political war,” and that with medical decisions like getting the Covid shot, “You have to honor people’s feelings and their own personal beliefs.” Forcing people to get the vaccine, he said, “goes against everything America stands for.”
Green, it should be noted. isn’t an anti-vaxxer. Like most NBA players, he chose to get a COVID vaccine. But Green understands what the reporters covering the NBA seemingly do not: that getting the vaccine or not getting it should be a private matter, just like any other medical decision, and no one should be coerced into it.