Celtics Veteran Slams NBA Anti-Vaxxers Against COVID-19: Report

Getty Images Enes Kanter of the Celtics reacts after a basket and a foul as teammate Jayson Tatum of the Celtics looks on

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter remembers how the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols impacted the 2020-21 regular season.

The Celtics, like many other teams, suffered from absences due to the coronavirus, and even though Kanter spent the latter half of the year playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, he’s back in Boston and urging his teammates, along with players across the league, to get vaccinated.

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The NBA’s proposed mandate from the league office called for all players to get vaccinated. However, according to Rolling Stone’s Matt Sullivan, there’s a recent wave of NBA players not in favor of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Enes Kanter On COVID-19 Vaccine: ‘It Saves People’s Lives’

Kanter, a devout Muslim, doesn’t see religion as a reason for players not to fall in line with the league’s requested mandate.

“If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” Kanter said, per Rolling Stone’s Matt Sullivan. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?”

According to Kanter, per Rolling Stone, some of his teammates are not vaccinated.

“Kanter’s current franchise, the Boston Celtics had multiple players unvaccinated as of Thursday, he and a teammate say,” RS’ Matt Sullivan wrote. “The NBA claims that 90 percent of its more than 450 players — star veterans and players trying to make rosters alike — have received at least one shot, a rate lower than the conservative NFL. League officials provide weekly data and studies to teams with un-vaxxed players, many of whom they hope will be inoculated before the regular season begins on October 19.”

Kanter On Celtics, COVID-19 Implications: ‘We’re Trying to Win a Championship!’

For Kanter, the bigger picture is seeing how this could affect the Celtics in the long run.

“If you’re a player and you’re not vaccinated and you miss a week or two weeks,” Kanter says, per Rolling Stone, “it could literally change the whole season — and we’re trying to win a championship!”

Kanter isn’t the only Celtics player speaking out on the controversy.

Grant Williams: ‘It’s Our Duty to Fight for the Players’

Forward and newly-elected vice president of the NBPA Grant Williams is urging for understanding from both sides of players who are vaccinated and the anti-vaxxers.

Williams, who is vaccinated, says it will bode well for better communication amongst teams throughout the 2021-22 campaign.

“Walking around them might be a hassle,” Williams said, per Rolling Stone. “But no matter someone’s vaccination status, that won’t determine relationships. You’re not going to agree with someone on the same political issue, the same financial issue. Just like in life, you learn to adapt, you learn to talk to those around you. It might be a stricter stance from the league, and I understand where they’re coming from, but as a players’ association it’s our duty to fight for the players and their best interests, so we’ll do our best to counteract that.”


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