ESPN Broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy has slammed NBA players who have refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Several NBA players have opted against taking the vaccine, claiming they still need to do their research about it. Van Gundy was critical of them, as he believes there are 'smarter' people who had already done that research.
Van Gundy's comments came during a preseason game between the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets. Speaking about the entire situation, he said:
"Just in general, you the know the one that drives me crazy? ‘I’m doing my own research.’ I would like someone to answer this question: What does that look like? You’re doing your own research? Are you doing studies yourself? Are you in the lab on a nightly basis? What’re you doing? I don’t understand what that means. ‘I’m doing my own research. How about this? We got really smart people, a lot smarter than anybody in the NBA who’ve already done the research."
Van Gundy also talked about Kyrie Irving's vaccine situation, saying:
" And I'll say, they're good enough even if Kyrie Irving doesn't play. They can win it."
How does the COVID-19 vaccine mandate affect NBA players?
The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is now active in three US states. Los Angeles is the latest state to make the vaccine mandatory, joining New York and San Francisco as the only states to do so. As per the mandate, no NBA player will be allowed to feature in regular-season games without taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
Star players like Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal have expressed their reservations about taking the COVID-19 vaccine. However, with this new rule in place, a player could miss up to 41 games in the season, which will be a huge loss for his team.
Reports have suggested that Irving is against the idea of taking the COVID-19 vaccine. That essentially means the Nets will lose Irving's services for all their home games. When asked about his stance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Kyrie Irving said:
"Honestly, I'd like to keep that stuff private. I'm a human being first. Obviously living in this public sphere, it's just a lot of questions about what's going on in the world of Kyrie. And, I think, I just would love to just keep that private, handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with the plan."
The rules laid down by the states are very strict. If any team has a player without a COVID-19 vaccine, they would have no choice but to keep the player out of games.
Losing out a player like Kyrie Irving would be a huge loss for the Brooklyn Nets, who're regarded as one of the contenders in the 2021-22 NBA season. They still have a strong team, with players like James Harden and Kevin Durant. However, only time will tell if they would win the championship without a player like Irving missing a whopping 41 games.