Why it matters: The 23-year-old shooter is emerging as one of the NBA’s most vocal skeptics of the COVID-19 vaccine — and among the most prominent in Colorado.
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He joins the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, who refuses to get vaccinated and can’t play because of a local mandate, in the spotlight.
An estimated 95% of NBA players have received at least one dose of the vaccine, AP reports.
What he’s saying: “My main thing is: We don’t have years and years of data for how it can affect you,” Porter told the Ringer.
“I’m not against the vaccine,” he added. “What I’m against is not allowing other people to have a choice, or people trying to force it on other people.”
State of play: The third-year small forward is not the only Nuggets player going unvaccinated, but he’s the most vocal against the shot and virus-related mandates.
In a July 2020 Snapchat conversation, Porter spread a conspiracy theory about the coronavirus, saying “it’s being used for population control in … terms of being able to control the masses of people.”
What’s new: Porter is claiming the vaccine isn’t safe and contends that he’s immune because he contracted COVID-19 twice. “I’ve got the antibodies, all those things,” he noted.
Reality check: Doctors and public health experts say it’s unclear how long people are protected from COVID-19 after recovering from the disease. They add that those who get the vaccine have stronger protections from illness.
Context: The NBA did not put in place a vaccine mandate, and neither did the city of Denver. So unlike Irving, Porter can play in tonight’s Nuggets home opener against the San Antonio Spurs.
Quick take: Porter is looking to emerge as a team leader but his decision not to get the shot may hurt the team.
NBA protocols say unvaccinated players who come in close contact with a person who tests positive will need to quarantine for seven days. The rule doesn’t apply to vaccinated players.
In addition, unvaccinated players can’t eat with their teammates, must stay at their home or hotel and submit to frequent testing.
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