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NBA Hall of Famer Says Pro Athletes Refusing to Receive the COVID Vaccine are 'Selfish'

AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley slammed professional athletes refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, calling them "selfish."

Barkley, currently an "Inside the NBA" analyst spoke about how lucky athletes were for continuing to be well-paid while playing in empty stadiums while everyday people experienced job loss or death due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"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," Barkley said Thursday while co-hosting an episode of "The Mike Missanelli Show" on Philadelphia’s 97.5 The Fanatic.

"I’ve heard these idiots talk about chips in it, and I heard people talking about [the government] wants to follow us around," he continued, alluding to some people's reasons for refusing 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?"

Barkley said last month that "the only people who are not vaccinated are just a--holes."

"Can you imagine if one of these guys that are not vaccinated, if they get one of these players’ kids, wives, girlfriends, moms and dads sick and they die over some unnecessary conspiracy bullshit," Barkley said at the time. "I think that would be tragic." 

"There’s shit you can’t do at work and there’s shit that have to do at work," he continued. "So every workplace has rules, and I think one of the rules [should be] that guys have to be vaccinated."

This comes after the NBA announced its anticipated COVID-19 health and safety protocols earlier this week, which state that unvaccinated players will have lockers far away from vaccinated teammates and will have to eat, fly and ride buses in sections separate from vaccinated players.

Unvaccinated players for the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors will have to sit out home games due to local vaccine mandates in New York City and San Francisco that require community residents to prove they have received their shot before entering indoor facilities such as sports arenas, according to a league memo obtained by CNBC.


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