ORLANDO, FL – As the NBA 2021-22 season begins, the big story around the league, as well s the country, has been about vaccine protocols. The NBA has not officially mandated that all players need to be vaccinated, but it is strongly suggested.
With 90% of the Orlando Magic team being vaccinated, one major player has not, and took a moment to speak about it.
Jonathan Isaac talked about his feelings on the vaccination subject in a Rolling Stone article last week, saying that he considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities.
He also rejected the social distancing mandate as illogical when “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus?”
Needles to say, that article made some big noise in the media world. Isaac was not happy with how his words were presented in Rolling Stone. He posted the following message on Twitter.
“Misrepresentation only allows for others to attack straw men, and not reason with the true ideas and heart of their fellow man. It helps no one! True journalism is dying! I believe it is your God given right to decide if taking the vaccine is right for you! Period! More to follow”
At the Orlando Magic’s Media day, Issac to the opportunity to set the record straight.
After apologizing to the media in house, and saying that his statement that the “Journalism was dying” comment was aimed at how he was misrepresented in the Rolling Stone article.
He wanted to make it clear that he was not against the vaccine, but maintained that he thought that it was important that each person have a choice as to wether or not to take it. He also motioned that he does believe in science.
He has taken significant steps to educate himself prior to deciding to not receive the vaccine. One of his main reasons for not being vaccinated is because he already has had the COVID virus.
Having the virus gives an individual a certain amount of antibodies that help fight off being infected by the virus again. Of course, that also does not mean a person is protected entirely, nor does being vaccinated.
“I simply believe that it should be everyone’s individual right to make a decision on their vaccination status themselves without being pressure, without being bullied, without being forced into doing so,” Isaac said. “I think any other way for it is unjust.”
Isaac also said he goes about his daily life practicing the principles most everyone started to employ from the onset of the pandemic: wearing a mask, washing hands and staying away from large public gatherings.
“There are multiple ways to protect the people around you outside of the vaccine,” Isaac said. “I think it’s an option, a better option … if anything. … I don’t think getting the vaccine is the only way to take care of other people.”
Teammate Cole Anthony said that he and the rest of the team Stan with Isaac on his personal stance.
“Look, I mean, JI is a grown man. Any one man who’s willing to stick to his convictions that strongly — I got to support him,” point guard Cole Anthony said. “Look, potentially do I really agree with what he has to say? I might not agree with it; I might agree with it. But look, he’s a grown man. I’m a grown man. He’s gonna do what’s best for him; I’m gonna do what’s best for me.
“At the end of the day we’re teammates, I’m supporting him through thick and thin.”
Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman says that’s Isaac’s prerogative.
“We’re in a very good place regarding the vaccines as a team … and the league balances all this stuff,” Weltman said. “So Jonathan, if he is going to be an unvaccinated player, will have a more stringent set of protocols as prescribed by the league.
“That’s the way the system is set up and we all kind of adhere to those rules.”
Isaac’s stance could prove to effect the Magic on the floor as Cities such as New York and San Francisco will not allow players who are not vaccinated to enter their arenas.
The league announced two weeks ago that players who are unvaccinated will have to undergo rigorous testing — one test on practice/travel days, and at least one test on game days.