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Charles Barkley: NFL and NBA Players Should Get ‘Preferential Treatment’ for Vaccines

The NBA now finds itself in a position where games are getting postponed right and left because positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing are leaving rosters with an insufficient number of eligible players. Speaking on TNT’s Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley argued that NBA and NFL players should get “preferential treatment” to receive the vaccine because of the high taxes they pay:

Kenny Smith, arguing that this was a matter of life and death, vigorously disagreed with Barkley.

Here’s where I stand on Barkley’s argument: I would be fine with the NBA and NFL using their considerable resources to obtain vaccines for their players, coaches, and other personnel after vulnerable seniors, people with co-morbidities, and frontline health and education workers who wish to receive the vaccine have done so. I would also be okay if there were situations, like we’ve seen in many states, where vaccines were about to go to waste and they receive them at the last minute.

There are only a few more weeks left for the NFL at this point, and they basically have to hope and pray that mega-stars like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes do not test positive or become a direct contact from here on out. Even if all remaining players got the vaccine today, they would still need to wait a few weeks for the second shot before they would be immunized. By then, we’re already at the end of the season.

The NBA’s current position is similar to the one they were in before the bubble. Adam Silver talked about not wanting to gobble up tests that were still sluggish in reaching the public, and he evaluated the right time to jump in and buy them up to safely finish the season. It would still be worse optics right now for the league to get vaccinated than the benefit of salvaging these regular season games would be. In a month or two, I think the vaccine distribution will be in a place, and it will no longer be an awful look for their players to receive it.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.

23 Comments

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  1. I agree 100%. Let’s vaccinate these guys and if they’re healthy a year from now, I’ll add that to the other evidence based data available to decide if it’s worth the risk. There’s a reason why drug trials aren’t rushed into production unless it’s panacea for a Trumped up virus that’s politicized beyond all reason.

  2. Barkely actually hits on a topic that is rarely discussed which is the folks that are in higher income tax brackets expect, and receive, preferential and focused treatment from the law. Because we have a progressive tax structure they are going to protect and defend that money source.

  3. Let em get in the chicom line if they want this vax these people are just so out of touch complaining about the taxes they pay and oh yeah just you wait tell beijing biden gets done fucking you he already said people like you are going to be paying more so jokes on you jackass.

  4. Wow lmao what lame is really even taking a vaccine for a coronavirus? Let them take it lol this is brainwash, corona can’t even make the average person very sick. Our hospitals arent even full or any busier than normal at this time of year either. I for one will not take a vaccine so I am not jealous they get them lol. And Barkley is definitely off here, I agree NBA should be able to use resources but the tax argument would mean the gov would give preferential treatment and that is wrong obviously. Think of the amount of city resources they use running their stadiums, they already get what their tax dollars pay for.

  5. Give it to the coaches sure, but the players have next-to-zero risk of developing serious illness from this virus. If you want lockdowns to be lifted, hospitalizations need to decrease, and that requires vaccinating the people who would otherwise get hospitalized.

    Also, it’s amusing to see NBA media complaining about the taxes their players have to pay after they all just supported the guy who promised to raise their taxes. Preferential treatment for paying higher taxes is the antithesis of the welfare state.

  6. ‘NBA and NFL players should get ‘preferential treatment’ for vaccine because of the taxes they pay’

    Lol…this is why I like Chuck. Even though I’m not supporting the vaccine really for anybody preferential or not the fact he linked taxes into it (I’d imagine a NBA player probably loses 60% of their chicom dollars to taxes) was a great way to get it in the conversation.

    • Just the opposite. He is arguing that if the government is going to forcibly take a whole shitload of your money, there should be some “compensation” in return. One-tenth of one percent pay between 40-50% of federal income tax.

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