Bradley Beal was among a handful of NBA players to make headlines before the season with his refusal to get vaccinated.
The Washington Wizards star, who had missed the Olympics after contracting COVID-19, initially cited "personal reasons" for the decision while parroting anti-vaccine misinformation. He would later walk back those comments somewhat, saying he was still considering getting the vaccine and explaining he couldn't even receive it at the time due to his recent bout with the virus.
Even though the controversy was due more to muddled communication than the actual substance of Beal's decisions, it was still enough for Beal to get lumped in with the NBA's most prominent anti-vaxxers like Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins.
That included a tweet from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a person who has never shied away from discussing the NBA online:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 29, 2021
More than a month later, Beal still isn't vaccinated, but he told The Washington Post's Ava Wallace that he is still open to the idea, especially now that his two young sons are attending preschool.
Even though he remains unvaccinated, Beal had some choice words for Cruz:
Said Beal: “Don’t attach me to that. Because that’s not what I was trying to do. I’m not sitting here advocating for people not to get it. … I’ve never met you, I don’t talk to you, and I don’t support you or anything you do. That’s a little weird. That’s why I don’t like social media. Ted, you know damn well I ain’t rockin’ with you. You’re not going to get no cool points if that’s what you’re in it for.”
You don't need a long memory to understand why an NBA All-Star might have reservations about siding with Cruz. You don't even need a short memory, you just need to to know how to perform a Twitter search. At basically every political opportunity, Cruz has taken shots at the NBA and its players.
When not calling out U.S. senators, Beal has been enjoying one of the most successful starts to a season of his career, even as his personal numbers lag. Despite Beal averaging only 23.5 points per game (down from 31.3 last season) with career worsts in field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage and turnovers per game, the revamped Wizards are 6-3 and look like they have a real shot at a decent finish in the Eastern Conference.