Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal revealed Monday during the team’s media day that he has not gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, citing personal reasons.
“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,” Beal told reporters. “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, 28, had COVID-19 in July, which caused him to withdraw from Team USA’s 12-man roster for the Tokyo Olympics. The three-time All-Star was placed under the team’s health and safety protocol before Team USA confirmed Jerami Grant would replace him at the Summer Games.
“Yeah I had it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get it again,” Beal said. “I mean it’s no different than somebody with the vaccine. Yes, I developed antibodies for it, so my chances will be less likely for it as well. It’s still a possibility, just like there are players and coaches and staff who are vaxxed that are missing camp as well.”
Beal explained that he, personally “didn’t get sick at all,” when he had COVID-19, but lost his sense of smell.
“I would like an explanation to people with vaccines, why are they still getting COVID?” Beal said. “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.”
Since Delta became the dominant variant in the U.S., over the last several months, vaccinated people have been found to have a reduced risk of five times of becoming infected with COVID and a reduced risk of more than 10 times of hospitalization and death, according to the CDC.
Kyle Kuzma — whom the Wizards acquired from the Lakers in the Russel Westbrook — followed Beal’s comments, also saying “It’s personal” when asked if he is vaccinated.
“At the end of the day nobody really knows how things are going to go. America doesn’t know. Certain things in health should be personal. Especially us as athletes and the platform we have. I believe certain things should always be kept in house,” Kuzma said.
Under the NBA’s new proposed guidelines, unvaccinated players must follow much stricter protocols than vaccinated players.
In the memo sent to all 30 teams in early September, the NBA said it will follow local regulations on vaccinations against COVID-19. Therefore, unvaccinated players in New York and San Francisco will be barred from playing home games, potentially affecting rosters for the Nets and Warriors; on Friday, Knicks general manager Scott Perry said all Knicks players, coaches and training staff are fully vaccinated.
Kyrie Irving did not attend Monday’s Nets media day in-person due to New York’s vaccination rules, and met with reporters over Zoom. Irving did not confirm reports that he is unvaccinated, and asked for privacy when asked about his vaccination status.
The NBA announced Friday that it rejected Andrew Wiggins’request for a religious exemption to the local COVID-19 vaccination order.
In the NBA’s new proposed guidelines, unvaccinated players are also required to practice social-distancing from vaccinated players during events such as team meals and meetings. Unvaccinated players also may be required to eat and travel, which includes flying and riding buses, in different sections.
Additionally, unvaccinated players will have to undergo testing on game days and practice days — and possibly more than once on game days. Vaccinated players, meanwhile, will not undergo daily testing.
The proposed rules are not final and subject to ongoing talks with the National Basketball Players Association.