NBA star and former Gator Bradley Beal says he isn’t vaccinated

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Former Florida and current Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal could face the ire of the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol this season, as the three-time all-star announced that he still hasn’t received the vaccine against the virus for personal reasons.

“I don’t feel pressure [to get vaccinated],” Beal said on Monday, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I don’t think you can pressure anybody into making a decision about their body or what they put into their body. We can have this discussion about a lot of different topics besides vaccines too. You can’t necessarily force anybody or kind of say it’s time for a vaccine. I think you kind of let people come into their own about it. If they do their research when they feel comfortable, they do it.

“I definitely think about it, for sure,” he said. “With the guidelines that the league makes and everything, the protocols they’re doing, it kind of makes it difficult on us to where they kind of force us in a way to want to get it. At the end of the day, I talk it over with my family and we make a decision what’s best for us.”

The NBA has instituted strict limitations on players who choose to remain unvaccinated, such as regular testing, quarantining when in close contact with someone with the virus, limiting access to team facilities, keeping them separated from vaccinated players in the facilities they are allowed to enter and dictating what they can and can’t do doing their free time.

However, the real doozy is the fact that players who have to miss games for COVID-19 may have to forfeit their salary from those games. Ultimately, the NBA wants to have as many players vaccinated as possible, and its strategy seems to be working so far. According to the league, around 90% of players are currently vaccinated, though Beal is a member of a group of prominent holdouts.

“We can talk all day about it,” Beal said. “Everybody is going to have their own opinion. Everybody is going to have their own timing and comfort of when they feel like they want to meet those criteria needs or feel like they want to get the vaccine.”

Beal was originally supposed to go to Tokyo this summer to compete on the men’s national team at the Olympics, but he had to enter the health and safety protocol before the trip and was scratched from the roster.

While Beal hasn’t ruled out getting the vaccine at some point, it seems likely that he will begin the season as one of the few players who are still unvaccinated.

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