The Celtics struggled with absences due to COVID-19 last season, and they might struggle again this year: Per a report, “multiple” Celtics players have not received the COVID-19 vaccine just days before training camp begins.
“[Enes] Kanter’s current franchise, the Boston Celtics, had multiple players unvaccinated as of Thursday, he and a teammate say,” Rolling Stone’s Matt Sullivan reported. “The NBA claims that 90 percent of its more than 450 players — star veterans and players trying to make rosters alike — have received at least one shot, a rate lower than the conservative NFL.”
Kanter — who is a devout Muslim — said he is frustrated by the role religion plays among the anti-vaccinated.
“If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” Kanter told Sullivan. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?’”
Kanter added that he and other vaccinated players will probably have to spend time trying to convince skeptical teammates to get vaccinations.
“If you’re a player and you’re not vaccinated and you miss a week or two weeks, it could literally change the whole season,” Kanter told Rolling Stone. “And we’re trying to win a championship!”
Former Celtics star Kyrie Irving, a vice president of the player’s union, has been one of the more noticeable vaccine-hesitant players, liking social media posts outlining vaccine conspiracies. Irving — who plays for the Brooklyn Nets — could run into issues with the league as players who are not vaccinated will not be able to play in New York or San Francisco.
Those same indoor regulations in New York might give some early hints as to which Celtics players are not vaccinated, as the team opens their season against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Rolling Stone he believes unvaccinated players should be barred from the league.
“What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts,” Abdul-Jabbar told Rolling Stone. “Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
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