Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal revealed during the team’s media day on Monday he isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19 and was pressed about the reason.
Beal, who wasn’t able to compete for Team USA at the Olympics after testing positive for the coronavirus, explained he didn’t feel pressured to get the vaccine.
“I don’t feel pressure, I don’t think you can pressure anybody to making a decision about their body or what they put into their body,” he said, via NBC Sports Washington. “We can have this conversation about a lot of different topics besides vaccines, too. You can’t necessarily force anybody, I think you kind of let people come into their own about it.”
Beal admitted he did think about it because of the strict guidelines the NBA has for unvaccinated players. He then demanded an answer about why those who are vaccinated are still getting COVID.
“I would like an explanation to people with vaccines, why are they still getting COVID? If that’s something we’re supposed to highly be protected from, that’s funny that it only reduces your chances of going to the hospital. It doesn’t eliminate anyone from getting COVID,” Beal said.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal dribbles up the court during game four against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 31, 2021. (Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
He said even getting infected with the coronavirus over the summer didn’t change his stance and said he could still get the illness even if he was vaccinated like everyone else who was at training camp.
He said he didn’t think the issue will be a distraction and understands each side of the vaccine debate.
“I have family – my mom and dad are vaccinated. My older brothers are vaccinated. My sister-in-law is vaccinated. I know people, I have people that are very close to me that are vaccinated, just as well that I have people that are close to me and related to me that are not. It’s a fine line,” Beal said, via The Washington Times.
“It’s a personal choice between everybody, 100%. I understand both sides of it. I understand that there is a percentage of people who can get very sick. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t get sick at all. I lost my smell, but that was it for me. Everybody is going to react different, everybody is going to take it differently. I mean some people have had bad reactions to the vaccine. Nobody likes to talk about that. And what happens if one of our players gets the vaccine and they can’t play after that? Or they have complications after that? Because there are cases like that. But I feel like we don’t talk about those as heavily because they’re so minute, maybe. But I mean they are existent. Like I said before, we can talk all day about it. Everybody is going to have their own opinion about it. Everybody’s going to have their own timing and comfort of when they feel like they want to meet those criteria or needs or feel like they want to go through getting the vaccine.”
The Athletic reported last week that about 90% of NBA players are vaccinated and the rate has been rising ahead of training camp. Players are not required to get the vaccine.