Wizards player Bradley Beal announced today he’s not received the Covid-19 vaccine for “personal reasons.” Beal will still be allowed to play in DC, which doesn’t have indoor vaccine mandates like NYC or San Francisco—although NBA rules mean he’ll be tested frequently for Covid, have to sit in a different section on team buses and planes and wear a mask, and will even have his locker socially distanced from vaccinated teammates.
It’s not exactly a surprise that Beal has forgone getting a shot, as his wife is openly anti-vax (and was roundly criticized for suggesting the vaccine killed Hank Aaron) and Beal missed the summer Olympics after contracting Covid. In today’s Wizards media day, Beal seemed to question the efficacy of the vaccines, noting that even those vaccinated can still contract and spread Covid, and saying “some people have had bad reactions to the vaccine, nobody wants to talk about that.”
As for the rest of the team, Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard says over 90 percent of the players are vaccinated, which exceeds the NBA’s 85 percent requirement. “We just make sure everybody is educated and encourage everybody to be vaccinated,” Sheppard said in a media conference last Thursday. “But certainly, moving forward, we’ll just keep our eyes forward to the season. It’s not with any light heart that I say this at all, but we went through a year last year where we learned an awful lot. We had a bumpy summer and we learned an awful lot. We look forward to a smoother transition as we move into this next season.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post said Beal wouldn’t be allowed to play in NYC or San Francisco due to their vaccine mandates. Those mandates only apply to the home team.