The mainstream media has spent months dancing on the graves of political personalities and normal people alike who refused a COVID-19 vaccine and then succumbed to the virus itself. They’ve created a totem of who these unwashed masses of zombie-horde anti-vaxxers are: MAGA hat-wearing, Boomer hicks more interested in their ‘free-dumb’ than their health.
But as basketball season approaches, that caricature is about to vanish. According to NBC Sports, about 90 percent of all NBA players are vaccinated. But a small number of players are speaking out against vaccine mandates, offering nuanced opinions on the vaccine as it pertains to natural antibodies in those who have contracted COVID already.
It’s a conversation the Biden administration isn’t interested in having with the public. Neither is the NBA, which is seeking to impose a penalty on any player who refuses the COVID vaccine. But that has not stopped a vocal minority of players from challenging the press on the history of African Americans, vaccinations and born immunity.
Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors is one holdout. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is another. But it was the Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac that most mystified the sports media. They seem confused that NBA players are speaking out at all, let alone, as we are starting to see in New York City, Black Lives Matter protesters, who are taking up the mantle of opposition to vaccine mandates.
Isaac’s stance is not that of the ranting, raving Facebook loon. ‘I would say I’m hesitant at this time but at the end of the day I don’t feel that it is anyone’s reason to come out and say “well this is why” or “this is not why”, it should just be their decision,’ he said at a press conference earlier this week. ‘Loving your neighbor is not just loving those who agree with you or look like you or move in the same way that you do. It’s loving those who don’t.’
The rest of his comments are worth quoting at length:
‘I understand that the vaccine would help if you have COVID, 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 physical fitness level, it’s not necessarily a fear of mine. Taking the vaccine, like I said, it would decrease my chances of having a severe reaction, but it does open me up to the albeit rare chance but the possibility of me having an adverse reaction to the vaccine itself. I don’t believe that being unvaccinated means infected or being vaccinated means uninfected. You can still catch COVID with or with not having the vaccine. I would say honestly 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.’
I don’t personally agree with his vaccine stance. I myself contracted COVID last year and still chose to get vaccinated. However there is a deeper meaning to what he’s saying that goes beyond ‘Bill Gates is trying to microchip everyone.’ It stands against what the media and the Biden administration are attempting to do by shaming and other-ing anyone who opts not to get vaccinated or can’t because of medical reasons. And that’s before we even get into the dark history African Americans and vaccinations, which has no doubt played a role in lower vaccination rates among that demographic.
Isaac is rejecting the atmosphere of division, the idea that anyone who’s unvaccinated is deserving of scorn from the desks at CNN, as well as ostracization from polite society by employers, friends and family. Division is the lingua franca of the national media — and Isaac isn’t speaking it. Legitimate medical diagnoses are being lumped in with QAnon Facebook conspiracists. That leads nowhere good.
Jonathan Isaac seems to understand this. It’s worth asking why our media and political leaders choose to ignore it.