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NBA considering use of eventual player vaccinations as COVID-19 PSA

Adam Silver revealed Tuesday that the NBA is contemplating whether to utilize players’ eventual COVID-19 vaccinations as a public service announcement to encourage the league’s fans, among other specific populations, to do the same.

The NBA commissioner divulged the league’s ongoing deliberations regarding the matter while speaking at a virtual conference hosted by Sportico.

“There have been discussions. It’s something we’re particularly focused on,” Silver said, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Silver went on to say that there has been “enormous resistance” within the African American community — which has been disproportionally ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic — about the COVID-19 vaccine for “understandable historical reasons.”

Many public health experts have stated having high-profile members of particular communities support vaccinations — including by publicly receiving it — can have a tremendous impact on diminishing skepticism and developing trust in the process.

“Several public health officials — and this is operating state by state right now — have suggested there would be a real public health benefit to getting some very high profile African Americans vaccinated to demonstrate to the larger community that it is safe and effective,” Silver said.

“At the appropriate time, whenever that is and whether that’s directed federally by NIH or CDC or ultimately state-by-state programs, we think there’s real value in our players demonstrating to a broader community how important it is to get vaccinated.”

As the league continues to consider whether to include player vaccinations in a broader PSA initiative, the league previously raised awareness by sharing a video showing NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar receiving his COVID-19 vaccination.

In his comments Tuesday, Silver reiterated a pledge made in December that the NBA would not “jump the line in any form whatsoever” when it comes to receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Anything we will do will be fully transparent and in conjunction with public health authorities so there’s no sense whatsoever that there’s some favoritism going on here,” Silver said. “Only be done if public health officials determine on balance it was the right time to vaccinate our players.”