In professional sports locker rooms across America, in the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and other leagues, millionaire athletes are talking with each other about a decision that can dramatically affect their careers, their families and their teams.
Whether to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or not.
Mason Jones, who played for the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers last season, decided to take the shot.
“In the locker room, there are mixed emotions,” Jones said. “Some people got it just to have it, while others have conducted their own research,
“I’m vaccinated because I feel like it’s the right thing to do. The vaccine will keep me healthy, safe and out on the court.”
Jones said his COVID-19 vaccination paid dividends almost immediately.
As a Rocket, Jones made his first career start in the seventh game of the regular season when multiple players were out with injuries and others couldn’t play due to coronavirus safety protocols. Jones erupted for a career high 24 points in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
He also has seen what happens when players aren’t vaccinated.
While playing with the Washington Wizards in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this year, the team had an outbreak of COVID-19. Due to contact tracing rules, the NBA postponed their first game against the Indiana Pacers, because the Wizards didn’t have enough eligible players.
“That was frustrating because summer league is crucial to making an NBA roster.,” Jones said. “Every game counted, and we were ready to showcase our talent.”
The vast majority of NBA and NFL players are vaccinated, at least 90% in each league, league officials said.
The NBA has taken a strong stance by saying players who do not comply with local vaccination rules will not be paid for missed games.