Good news! Your favorite basketball team will apparently not feature any anti-vaccination fanatics this season.
Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey confirmed at the team’s annual media day on September 27 that all basketball operations staff and the team had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“They presented the opportunity, and I said, ‘May I bring my family too? ” Olympic gold medalist Damian Lillard said at today’s press conference. “And they said, ‘Yes. And that was it… I’ve seen my family die, and people lose their lives. And [vaccination] is a way for me to protect myself and the people I love, I will.
Among NBA teams, the Blazers have been at the forefront of advances in COVID vaccination. In March, the Blazers announced that 13 of 15 players had received fire from the Confederate Grand Ronde Tribes. Today’s confirmation of 100% vaccination closes the loop, confirming that players added to the roster this summer are also vaccinated.
This includes Larry Nance Jr., who has already started to gain the likes of the Pink City.
In addition to Olshey’s confirmation that basketball operations staff are vaccinated, Blazers staff member Casey Holdahl suggested on Twitter that the team had demanded vaccination for all employees.
Sadly, the rest of the NBA haven’t shown the same dedication to public health as the Blazers.
Several notable players in the league, including Brooklyn Nets goaltender Kyrie Irving and Washington Wizards winger Bradley Beal, have not said a word: they are not vaccinated and are not planning to be vaccinated.
Ordinarily, it would be best to let such ignorance stifle in the dark, but the league has allowed anti-vaxx players to wield enough influence that they need to be recognized.
First, the 10% of gamers who choose not to get anti-COVID jab was allowed to dictate league policy, would have made a vaccine mandate outright in the ongoing political negotiations between the NBA and the players’ union. This is in stark contrast to the WNBA, which achieved 99% vaccination largely thanks to a push from the players’ union..
The Blazers ‘own CJ McCollum is currently president of the players’ union, but largely doesn’t appear to be bothered by the senseless controversy.
No word on what his wife, Columbia-trained surgeon Elise McCollum, thinks about it.
Second, the unvaccinated pose a risk to various team members who must interact closely with players in the course of their work. Several NBA employees, including assistant coaches, expressed their frustration to ESPN, noting that an unvaccinated player could endanger high-risk family members.
The conundrum that employees on teams face – risking exposure to COVID or reconsidering their employment options – is particularly poignant given the pay gaps between typical staff and gamers. Multi-millionaires having access to unprecedented medical treatment without considering the risks support staff face as intensive care units across the country grapple with capacity is a terrible look for the NBA.
The good news is that Portland doesn’t have to deal with this (at least until the Nets get to town). After a summer of inexplicably disastrous decisions, the Blazers have demonstrated that when it comes to COVID response, they are some of the best teams in the NBA. Check back in a few weeks to see if this translates to success on the pitch.