Reggie Bush pushes disinformation about vaccines in Twitter 'conversation'

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports
There were many topics Reggie Bush could have tweeted about instead. (Getty Images)
There were many topics Reggie Bush could have tweeted about instead. (Getty Images)

Now enjoying retirement following an 11-year NFL career, Reggie Bush took to Twitter on Sunday with a question he wanted his 2.88 million followers to answer: Do they believe this extremely anti-vaccine video he just found?

Claiming that he had been reading and watching videos on vaccinations and their “dangers,” the 33-year-old linked to a video of a retired nurse castigating a CDC panel over its vaccine regulations and pushing the widely debunked theory that vaccines cause autism. The video has since been deleted for violating YouTube’s terms of service.

Like Mike Leach before him, Bush took a video and tried to host a conversation with his followers about the topic, even though hosting a neutral conversation is borderline impossible when you begin with a video espousing an extreme and demonstrably false premise.

Bush, who currently works as an analyst for NFL Network, spent the next few hours retweeting and replying to followers from both sides of an argument in which every reputable scientist and doctor stands together.

During this period in which he supposedly desired a sane discussion, Bush retweeted conspiracy theories about giving vaccines to the poor, scaremongering about the FDA-proven safe chemicals of vaccines and users challenging the efficacy of flu vaccines. The low point might have come when Bush quote-tweeted one user who said he believed that viruses are caused by vaccines themselves, a myth frequently used by anti-vaccine activists despite there being essentially zero such cases in the modern United States. Bush noted that he had heard such a theory before.

Bush did retweet one video in which the magician duo Penn & Teller described the anti-vaccination argument as “bulls—,” but even that video accepted the premise of vaccines causing autism for the sake of noting that the diseases vaccines prevent are much, much more dangerous.

In one tweet in which Bush’s beliefs are hard to ascertain, he asks one user what was the last reported case of measles or smallpox. The answer is yesterday.

Bush seemed to close the discussion by saying that people need to have “open conversations on social media” and that such arguments are healthy regardless of the topic, an idea that is patently untrue when the topic carries the potentially deadly stakes of the anti-vaccination “debate” and has already seen exhaustive scientific research prove one side to be false.

Like Kyrie Irving purporting that the Earth is flat after watching some Instagram videos, Bush opens a conversation in a medium where experts can state their case only 280 characters at a time, while a person with no scientific or medical background whatsoever can match them tweet for tweet. Scientific debate flounders when literally anyone can jump in and give their two cents without evidence or research.

In Irving’s case, he eventually recanted his flat-earth theory and apologized to beleaguered science teachers whose students believed the basketball star over their textbooks. While frustrating, those consequences are harmless compared to parents deciding to expose their own children – as well as other, immunodeficient children – to diseases that should be all but wiped out, a danger created by the normalization of anti-vaccine arguments.

Several Twitter users did castigate Bush for engaging the topic, something Bush believed was a product of his own celebrity rather than concern for those put in danger by neglecting vaccines.

Subscribe to The Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast
Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts

More from Yahoo Sports:
Browns clown ex-coach Hue Jackson with INT celebration
Leonard Fournette, Shaq Lawson ejected for throwing punches
NFL fines Malcolm Jenkins $13K for flipping off Sean Payton
Bruce Arians reminds us he’d unretire to coach Browns

What to Read Next