Charles Barkley has taken a strong stance on vaccinations and how professional sports leagues should deal with them. He thinks that the leagues should require vaccines for all players.
"There’s s--- you can’t do at work and there’s s--- that have to do at work. So every workplace has rules and I think one of the rules [should be] that guys have to be vaccinated.”Charles Barkley
Barkley confirmed that he has already received both of his vaccines and that,
"Everybody should be vaccinated. Period.” Charles Barkley
So far, vaccination efforts in the NBA have gone relatively well. Roughly 90% of NBA players have received their vaccine, according to CNBC. Those numbers likely won't be rising in the near future. Players have already had vaccines available for quite a while, so most have made up their minds either way.
The NFL recently instated a rule that will incur punishments on unvaccinated team personnel should an outbreak occur. This is the beginning of what Barkley is asking for, but not a rule that makes vaccines mandatory.
This issue will likely continue taking shape as the NFL and NBA seasons draw closer. But it's not exclusive to these sports either; conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 itself have spread across not only the United States but the world.
The NBA has not mentioned any vaccine-specific guidelines for next season. In fact, rules surrounding the pandemic have not even come up yet. But given the past season only just ended, these issues will likely come to focus soon for the league. It will be a big decision for the league as they navigate a line between safety and alienation of fans and players.
It's not surprising to see Charles Barkley voice his opinion on a controversial topic. But this has bigger ramifications than his usual takes. How major leagues deal with the ongoing effects of the pandemic and vaccine situation could potentially have large ripple effects throughout the country.