Dutiful Mike Wilbon Is Shilling For New York's Foolish Vaccine Mandate

Kevin Durantcalled out the mayor of New York City Eric Adams for the vaccine mandate that keeps his unvaccinated teammate Kyrie Irving from playing during home games.

“It’s ridiculous. I don’t understand it at all,” Durant said. “They lifted all of that in the arena, right? I don’t get it.

“It just feels like, at this point now, somebody’s trying to make a statement or point to flex their authority,” he added.

Durant's comments enraged ESPN's Michael Wilbon. In fact, Durant's presser almost brought Wilbon to tears.

Here's Wilbon from Sunday's NBA Countdown:

At this point, what does "people dying" have to do with Durant's comments or Irving's situation?

First, COVID mainly impacts the obese and those over 65 or with a preexisting condition, and Omicron is not a deadly variant of it. As a 29-year-old professional athlete, Irving was hardly ever at risk of serious symptoms, even if he contracted the virus.

Second, why do New York laws allow Irving to sit courtside at the Barclays Center but not play on it? That was Durant's point, after all.

Unfortunately, Wilbon's nodding co-commentators, Stephen A. Smith and Jalen Rose, never pressed him for answers to these questions, so Wilbon never had to explain or defend his performative outrage.

If ESPN had some diversity of thought on the set -- you know how much they love diversity over there -- then someone might have pushed back against Wilbon's babble. Of course, ESPN doesn't care about that type of diversity anymore. And that's part of the issue with ESPN commentators delving into political issues.

Like Wilbon, most ESPN analysts are uninformed on topics besides basketball and football. They all get their news from social media and can't separate reasonable arguments from the insane ones, even when presented with them face to face. That's why Smith and Rose just nod along. The groupthink at ESPN does such a disservice to sports fans and casual viewers.

Ultimately, the vaccine mandate imposed on NYC workers was never about health or safety. It was always about control, and now it just looks foolish and outdated. Yet dutiful members of the media like Wilbon are still shaming those who speak out against the mandate.

It sounds like Michael Wilbon is, to use his word, the knucklehead here. A useful one too.

Written by
Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics.. Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.