While most of Media Day around the NBA involved players answering all the typical questions about what they worked on over the summer and what expectations they have for the upcoming season, one of the most prominent questions asked is if players are vaccinated. Some, like Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant openly stated they’re vaccinated, while others, like Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving took the “I would like to keep that private,” approach.
Several players opted to take the “no comment” approach with the vaccination question, but Washington Wizards star guard Bradley Beal had no issue saying he was “not vaccinated for personal reasons.” The All-Star guard who had to forgo his spot on the Olympic men’s basketball team this summer due to contracting COVID-19 said he doesn’t feel pressure to get vaccinated.
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“I don’t think you can pressure anybody into doing things, or putting things in their body,” Beal said Monday.
While other players around the league shut down all questions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, Beal didn’t shy away from giving his opinion on the matter.
“I would ask the question to those who are getting vaccinated, ‘why are you still getting COVID?,” Beal said. “…You can still get COVID and still pass it along it vaccinated. So…”
However, as of Tuesday, Beal seemed to strike a different tone in his responses. When asked how he arrived at the conclusion that getting the vaccine was a “personal decision,” he made it clear that he hasn’t closed the door on getting vaccinated.
“I’m still considering getting the vaccine, so one thing I want to make clear is that I’m not sitting up here advocating that you shouldn’t get the vaccine,” Beal said. “…I’m not sitting here saying I won’t get it.”
Beal also said that it was recommended that because he contracted COVID-19 within the last 60 days, he shouldn’t get the vaccine yet.
It’s unclear why Beal didn’t mention that on Monday when asked about his vaccination status, but whatever the reason, it sounds like there’s a chance he could still get the shot.
Unlike players in New York City and San Francisco, it isn’t required for Beal to get vaccinated to play in home games for the Wizards. The league also isn’t forcing players to get vaccinated, but for those who aren’t, heavier restrictions have been placed upon them throughout the season.
Players who aren’t vaccinated must undergo daily testing, are required to wear masks inside team facilities and have to quarantine if they come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. While it won’t put a hinderance on his ability to perform with his teammates on the court, Beal will be heavily restricted from doing off-the-court things if he remains unvaccinated.
That could be the motivation for him to get the shot, as he addressed the harsher restrictions by the NBA on Monday.
“[The NBA] kind of force us, in a way, to want to get [the vaccine],” Beal said. “At the end of the day [I’ll] talk it over with my family.”
It’s unclear how many other players on the Wizards are also unvaccinated, as Kyle Kuzma elected to not share his vaccination status, while Montrezl Harrell said he got vaccinated during last season to keep his family safe. The league as a whole is at 90 percent vaccination rate among players, but as reported on Saturday, that 10 percent of players who are choosing to not get vaccinated are making it difficult for the NBA to reach that 100 percent vaccination rate.