Van Gundy dives into NBA vaccine debate

ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy didn’t hold back when criticizing those in the NBA claiming to be doing their own research about COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday night.

Van Gundy, while calling a preseason game between the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets, slammed the select few players in the league who are still unvaccinated — and he took issue with perhaps the most common excuse among vaccine holdouts.

“Just in general, you know what drives me crazy? ‘I’m doing my own research.’” Van Gundy said in the fourth quarter. 

«I would like someone to answer this question. What does that look like, you doing your own research? Are you doing studies yourself? Are you in a lab on a nightly basis? What are you doing? I don’t understand what that means, ‘I’m doing my own research.’”

The NBA has said that about 95% of players are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, though several public holdouts have dominated the news as training camps and the preseason have gotten underway.

Most notably, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has been away from the team and prohibited from practicing due to a New York City mandate that requires anyone in those spaces have had at least one dose of a vaccine. The city determined Friday that the Nets’ practice facility is actually a “private office building,” which will allow Irving to start practicing with the team.

Irving, though, still won’t be allowed to play at the Barclays Center due to that mandate — and could miss out on a lot of money, too. Irving is expected to lose more than $380,000 for each game he misses. If he misses all 31 Nets home games, he would lose more than $15 million.

It’s not just that Irving won’t get a shot, but that he’s also reportedly been pushing dangerous conspiracy theories in NBA circles. Irving has been liking and sharing posts on Instagram that push vaccine conspiracy theories attempting to link the vaccine to secret societies and satan.

It’s that type of “research,” Van Gundy said Thursday night, that he’d rather leave to the professionals.

“How about this?” Van Gundy said. “We’ve got really smart people, a lot smarter than anybody in the NBA, that’s already done the research.”

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