Texas Senator Ted Cruz expressed support for unvaccinated NBA players, calling superstar player LeBron James “courageous” for refusing to use his influence to force others to get a COVID-19 shot.
“I’m behind Kyrie Irving. I’m behind Andrew Wiggins. I’m behind Bradley Beal. I stand behind Jonathan Isaac,” Cruz tweeted Wednesday afternoon, naming players believed to have not been vaccinated with the hashtag #YourBodyYourChoice.
Cruz further praised James after the Los Angeles Lakers superstar confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that although he had been vaccinated after initial skepticism, he respected those who chose not to get vaccinated.
“We’re talking about people’s bodies and well-being, so I don’t think I should interfere with what other people should be doing for their bodies and their livelihood,” James said.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted his support for NBA players who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying it was a personal choice
The Texas senator also expressed support for LeBron James, who said Tuesday that even though he was vaccinated, he would not use his influence to force others to get the shot.
“@KingJames is brave here,” Cruz tweeted about the player’s stance, calling on him to do more by refusing to play in arenas where the mandate would prohibit unvaccinated players from playing.
“He was able to SOLVE the problem – by saying, ‘I stand behind my teammates. And I will not play in an arena that bans another NBA player because they make a personal health choice,” Cruz tweeted.
Cruz’s support came on the heels of an announcement by the league that NBA players will lose game checks if they’re not allowed to play in New York and San Francisco, where local vaccine mandates are in effect.
“A player who chooses not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games he misses,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said on Wednesday.
Mandatory vaccinations for players was a non-starter with their union, leading the league to put in place strict protocols for unvaccinated players.
Lebron James, 36, confirmed his vaccination status at a press conference in LA Lakers on Tuesday
However, local mandates take precedence over the NBA, meaning players in New York and San Francisco must sit out home games if they don’t stay vaccinated. That could be a major concern for Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving and the Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins as both are believed to have not been vaccinated, although they have not confirmed their status.
Irving and Wiggins could lose about half of their respective $35 million and $31 million salaries if they forgo the injection.
“It’s my problem, not yours,” Wiggins told reporters on Tuesday.
Unvaccinated NBA players will be tested daily this season and undergo other rigorous protocols, while their vaccinated counterparts will have far fewer requirements, according to a league memo sent to teams and obtained by DailyMail.com
Unvaccinated players are a source of headaches for the NBA, and the league announced Wednesday that players banned from playing in vaccine-mandated arenas will lose their game controls. That could mean Brooklyn Nets player Kyle Irving (left) and Golden State Warriors player Andrew Wiggins, who are believed not to have been vaccinated, could lose half their paychecks for not being able to play at home games.
Nearly 90 percent of the league’s players have been vaccinated and they will only be tested if they show symptoms or have close contact with a positive case. Meanwhile, unvaccinated players should be tested daily before entering a team facility, participating in team-organized activities, or interacting with other players and coaches.
One of the other restrictions is that unvaccinated players are not allowed to dine in the same room as other players, and must be given a locker as far away from other players as possible.
The situation, which is mirrored by the NFLs, could prove problematic for a league that has endured the pandemic for two seasons. Many vaccinated players, including LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, have refused to call any requirement, and the players’ union has rejected the league’s proposed mandate.
Irving has declined to discuss his vaccination status, but Fox Sports has reported that he did not receive the shot. He spoke to reporters remotely and was not physically present at this week’s media day in Brooklyn, where health guidelines require participants at indoor events to have at least one dose of the vaccine.
Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal has not been vaccinated, but said he is continuing his investigation
Magical attacker Jonathan Isaac has battled COVID-19 and has a mother who works in health care but has refused to be vaccinated and has vocally opposed any mandate
Despite those clues, Irving told reporters he’s looking forward to playing for Nets fans this season, seemingly holding the door open to the possibility of getting the vaccine.
“Obviously I can’t be there today, but that doesn’t mean I’m limiting my future from joining the team,” Irving told reporters during a video conference call.
Orlando Magic attacker Jonathan Isaac has battled COVID-19 and has a mother who works in health care but has refused to be vaccinated and has vocally opposed any mandate.
“I thank God, I am grateful that I live in a society where vaccines are possible and we can protect ourselves and have the resources to protect ourselves in the first place,” Isaac told reporters earlier this week. That said, I believe that each person’s vaccine status should be their own choice.
“I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t feel comfortable taking the vaccine right now.”
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Beal, meanwhile, clarified on Tuesday that he has not yet decided whether he will be vaccinated against COVID-19, while largely supporting the skeptical opinions he shared a day earlier during the team’s media day.
“What I said yesterday, I believe what I said. It’s my opinion,” Beal said. ‘The ‘why’ is personal, but also in that sense I have said that I am still considering getting the vaccine. So one thing I want to make clear is that I’m not sitting here advocating or campaigning for, “No, you shouldn’t be getting that vaccine.”
It has long been rumored that James was not vaccinated.
“I know I was very skeptical about it, but after doing my research and stuff like that, I felt like it was the most suitable not only for me, but also for my family and my friends,” says the 36 year-old told reporters at a pre-season press conference.
When asked how important it was for the team to be fully vaccinated, James said, “Ultimately, you always try to think of ways to always be available and protect each other.”
James has made more than $1 billion in his 18-year career, but taxes, expenses and investments bring his net worth to about $850 million, according to Forbes.
James said although he was vaccinated against Covid-19, it was a personal choice for others who have refused