Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac this week responded to criticism he received in Rolling Stone for his personal decision not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
The article, called “The NBA’s Anti-Vaxxers Are Trying to Push Around the League — And It’s Working,” chastised the 23-year-old basketball pro, who has had COVID-19, and recovered from the virus.
“The Orlando Magic’s 23-year-old starting forward is deeply religious — and proudly unvaccinated,” it said. “When NBA players started lining up for shots in March, Isaac started studying Black history and watching Donald Trump’s press conferences. He learned about antibody resistance and came to distrust Dr. Anthony Fauci. He looked out for people who might die from the vaccine, and he put faith in God.”
When asked during a press conference for a response to the Rolling Stone piece, Isaac did not hold back.
“I would start by saying I was pretty badly misrepresented in the Rolling Stone article,” he said, “and because of that, I can understand anybody who says that they don’t transparently or overtly trust the media.”
Isaac, referencing a tweet he sent after the Rolling Stone piece was released, said during the press conference that “true journalism was dying,” noting that he harbored no animosity towards any reporters in the room.
“I appreciate every single one of you,” he said. “Those that try their best to correctly share the thoughts, the ideas, and the heart of the people they’re asking questions of.”
Then he addressed his stance on the vaccine, saying:
I am not anti-vax. I am not anti-medicine. I’m not anti-science. I didn’t come to my current vaccination status by studying black history and watching Donald Trump press conferences. I have nothing but the utmost respect for every healthcare worker and person in Orlando and across the world who work tirelessly to keep us safe. My mom has worked in healthcare for a really long time. I thank God – I’m grateful that I live in a society where vaccines are possible and that we can protect ourselves and have the means to protect ourselves in the first place. But with that being said, it is my belief that the vaccine status of every person should be their own choice, and completely up to them without bullying, without pressuring, without being forced into [getting vaccinated]. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m uncomfortable with taking the vaccine at this time. I think that we’re all different. We all come from different places. We’ve all had different experiences and hold dear to different beliefs, and what it is that you do with your body when it comes to putting medicine in there should be your choice free of the opinion and ridicule of others.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, only 3,376 Americans between ages 18 and 29, Isaac’s age bracket, have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic, which is entering its 20th month.
Jonathan Isaac also teed off on the Rolling Stone story that called him anti-vacc. This is great too. Watch it: pic.twitter.com/vkafd5Q3bP
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) September 28, 2021
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