Many of the National Basketball Association’s most popular players are rejecting requests to promote vaccinations against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, ESPN reported quoting unidentified players and agents.
The NBA’s invitations to many of the league’s best-known players to encourage the general population to be inoculated through public service announcements, or PSAs, and other means have “been met with a tepid response,” ESPN reported.
Agents and players have said the resistance is consistent with the general skepticism of the vaccine among American Blacks, who according to one survey only 38% have expressed confidence.
Last season, Blacks comprised 74% of the NBA teams’ rosters.
Besides being wary of taking it themselves, other reasons for the reluctance is promoting its use for others and animosity with the league over the All-Star Game, which Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has spoken out against.
Thirty NBA games this season have been postponed due to positive tests for the novel coronavirus, contract tracing protocols and teams not having enough players for games due to the restrictions.
Commissioner Adam Silver told general managers of the league’s teams on a conference call Tuesday that the NBA could “incentivize” teams and individuals for taking and promoting the vaccine with a loosening of testing protocols and quarantine rules, the ESPN said citing its anonymous sources.