According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, many NBA players are hesitant to participate in league-sponsored public service announcements to prompt an increase in broader acceptance of the coronavirus vaccine.
As Sideline Sources reported, the league's outreach to the agents representing elite NBA performers has been met with an unenthusiastic response. Players are reluctant about taking the vaccine themselves and refuse to advocate its use for others.
They also refuse to stand behind the NBA's PSA as a continuation of a collective pushback against the league's decision to force the NBA All-Star Game in the midst of the pandemic. Superstar players who will be playing in Atlanta on March 7 have already dubbed the game unnecessarily. As a result, they are refusing to extend favors to the league regarding the vaccination.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver mentioned late March and early April as an optimistic timeline for the potential start of player vaccinations. However, just hours after that announcement, Dr. Anthony Fauci - the leading infectious disease expert - pushed back against Silver's prediction.
That timeline will probably be prolonged into mid- to late May and early June.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
The NBA has implemented a mandatory educational plan about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, including team seminars with Dr. Leroy Sims, the league's senior vice president of medical affairs.
Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell joined the NBA's PSA, along with the Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. However, the league's top players are the ones who will have the most significant influence on people's decisions whether to receive the vaccine or not.
So far, they don't seem to be on the same page with the NBA, and that presents a major roadblock for the league's PSA movement to support COVID-19 vaccination.