Bock’s Score: Take a Shot, Take the Damned Shot

JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire

Here’s a word of advice for Kyrie Irving, Novak Djokovic and any other star athletes, players of privilege, who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Get the damned shot!

Roll up your sleeve and accept this miracle of medical science that prevents the coronavirus from becoming a worse pandemic.

Stop being an iconoclast, hero of the naysayers and general nuisance and get the damned shot.

Irving, armed with his fancy contract, refused to be injected. Never mind the impact his decision had on the championship aspirations of the Brooklyn Nets. His body, his choice.

New York law did not permit unvaccinated people indoors, where, by the way, the Nets play their games. Irving could play on the road, just not at Barclay’s Center or Madison Square Garden or Toronto, which has a similar restriction. The Nets decided they did not want a part-time player and so Irving sat, not only home games but road games, as well.

His team soldiered on without him and was pretty successful until COVID-19 started to strip the roster. It was then that the team relented and accepted part-time play from Irving, allowed to use him only in road games.

Before he could play, though, Irving had to sit out his own COVID attack, an ironic bit of business for this nay-sayer. Brooklyn won his first game back in Indianapolis but when it returned to Brooklyn, without Irving, the Nets lost their fifth straight home game.

Enough of this nonsense, Get the damned shot!

Djokovic arrived in Australia, poised to defend his title in tennis’ first Grand Slam event of the season. This is a tournament he has dominated and he would be going for his 10th career victory there and record-breaking 21st career Grand Slam victory.

Not so fast.

He was armed with a medical exemption from the Victoria state government that protected him from Australia’s strict vaccination rules and has helped the country keep COVID infections low.

Border authorities rejected the exemption. The government’s explanation was clear, “Any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements,’’ said Scott Morrison, the country’s prime minister.

And that means you, too, Novak.

He is busy arguing this matter in court instead rolling up his sleeve and taking the damned shot.

There is an element of selfishness in both cases of Irving and Djokovic, a kind of declaration of privilege that they don’t have to comply with the rules, that they are above the rules. There is a simple solution to all of this.

Just take the damned shot.

 

 

About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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