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Charles Barkley on players who don’t get vaccinated: ‘I just think it’s selfish’

Capital One's The Match

BIG SKY, MONTANA - JULY 06: Charles Barkley looks on during Capital One’s The Match at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin on July 06, 2021 in Big Sky, Montana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images for The Match)

Getty Images for The Match

Charles Barkley gets paid well to spout his opinions on national television — about basketball and much more.

On Thursday, he did just that. Barkley co-hosted “The Mike Missanelli Show” on Philadelphia’s 97.5 The Fanatic, and while on air the fully vaccinated Barkley — who has hosted vaccination events in his native Alabama — said his piece about NBA players who are not vaccinated (hat tip to HuffPost).

“For us to be selfish and not trying to help the world get back where we can take these stupid masks off and go out to dinner in a full restaurant, I just think it’s selfish,” said Barkley, 58, who is fully vaccinated.

“I’ve heard these idiots talk about chips in it, and I heard people talking about [the government] wants to follow us around,” the basketball Hall of Famer added of conspiracy theories surrounding the shots. “They can follow us around anyway. Everybody got a cellphone. And first of all, what are you doing that you’re worried about people following you?”

This is not the first time Barkley has taken shots (so to speak) at the unvaccinated.

Ninety percent of NBA players are vaccinated, according to players union executive director Michele Roberts. Heading into next season, the 40 or so players who are not vaccinated will face a series of protocols their vaccinated teammates do not: They will be tested daily, must wear at team facilities and while traveling with the team, they must be spaced out and not sit next to other players in the locker room or in team meetings and other activities, and if they come in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, they must quarantine for seven days. None of that applies to vaccinated players.

Vaccines and some mask wearing in crowded venues — as Barkley would put it, not being “selfish” — is proven and by far the best way to slow the spread of the virus and keep the most vulnerable among us safe. At this point, arguments of science and logic will not change minds, so the NBA has changed the calculus for the unvaccinated. They can act as they choose, but those actions have consequences.