In an effort to boost awareness and vaccination rates in the Black community, the NBA may vaccinate players for COVID-19.
Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the topic during an interview with Sportico.
“The African-American community; number one there’s been an enormously disparate impact from COVID,” said Silver. “The last data I looked at, Black-owned businesses were something like two and a half times more likely to have failed… If you’re Black with COVID, you’re something like three times more likely to die with that disease, and I think four times more likely to be hospitalized. Somewhat perversely, there’s been enormous resistance in the African-American community for understandable historic reasons.”
Should #NBA players be among the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine? @NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks about it in our #SporticoLive:
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— Sportico (@Sportico) January 19, 2021
Those “historic reasons” Silver alluded to was the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, in which the U.S. Government withheld penicillin from hundreds of Black men to determine the results of untreated syphilis.
Sliver reasoned that if players get vaccinized, the general public will feel safer about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“African Americans stand out in terms of resistance to vaccinations,” said Silver. “If that resistance continues based on the earlier data I cited, it will be very much a double whammy to the Black community because the only way to get out of this pandemic is to get vaccinated. Where our players have great influence is among young people, who also seem to be hesitating.”
Black Americans’ rates for COVID infection, hospitalization, and death exceed those for White non-Hispanic and Asian non-Hispanic Americans.
How and when the vaccine would be dispersed was not addressed.
The NBA already said it would not jump the line to get players vaccinated.
TNT’s Inside The NBA host Charles Barkley recently said he thought players should get the vaccine ahead of others.
“Three hundred million shots, give a thousand to some NBA players, NFL players, hockey players,” said Barkley during the January 14 show. “Listen, as much taxes as these players pay – let me repeat that – as much taxes, as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment.”
Silver did not address Barkley’s comments.