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Shaquille O’Neal: No One Should Be ‘Forced’ To Take COVID-19 Vaccine

The majority of professional athletes are vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning that members of sports media have hopped on board, imploring the public to get their vaccination.

On opening night of the NBA season, “Inside the NBA” on TNT discussed Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving’s refusal to receive the vaccine, and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley had some thoughts. 

“You don’t get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people,” Barkley said. “I got vaccinated. I can’t wait to get the booster. You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself. Like Adam [Silver] said, you get vaccinated for your family, first,” he added. “You get vaccinated for your teammates second.”

Shaquille O’Neal, who works alongside Barkley on “Inside the NBA,” told USA Today in September that “sometimes you have to be selfless” when asked about a handful of NBA players remaining unvaccinated. 

“In this line of work, sometimes you have to be selfless,” O’Neal said. “The day I decided it wasn’t all about me and it’s about us is the day I started winning and really started dominating. I understand the issues and all that. But I took the vaccine because I’m not trying to get my mother sick, or my sister or my brother or people around me. I know people say, ‘The vaccine came too fast and is it healthy.’ To each his own. But sometimes you have to think about the overall picture and you have to think about more than yourself.”

But Shaq is not a fan of mandating the vaccine. 

On the latest episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” O’Neal came out against vaccine mandates, saying people should not be “forced to take something they don’t want.” 

The topic of vaccine mandates came about after co-hosts Nischelle Turner and Anthony “Spice” Adams brought up a story regarding two New York nurses who reportedly made over $1.5 million in a fake vaccine card scam. 

“I encourage everybody to be safe and take care of your family,” O’Neal said. “I do, but there’s still some people who don’t want to take it. And you shouldn’t be forced to take something that you don’t want.”

Turner began to respond by saying that no one is being forced to take the vaccine, before realizing that her company — CBS — currently has a vaccine mandate in place. Turner also went on to say that by not getting vaccinated, people who abstain from the jab are “putting the public at risk.”

While the NBA does not require the vaccine in order to play, three cities — Toronto, San Francisco, and New York — do require professional athletes to be fully vaccinated in order to play in their home arenas. 

For Irving, this has meant being forced to miss games at Barclays Center, home of the Nets. Due to his refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Irving did not play in a game during the 2021 season until January 5th, when the Brooklyn organization made the decision to allow Irving to play in road games as a “part-time” player. Irving has played in ten of Brooklyn’s 51 games this season, averaging 23.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game.  

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

The Daily Wire is fighting Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate in federal court. Join us in this fight by signing our petition to OSHA, telling them that you will not comply with this mandate.

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