Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal returned to the court on Thursday night after landing in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Though he had an impressive showing — Beal dropped 29 points and had 10 assists in Washington’s 110-93 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers — Beal briefly explained his decision to finally receive the COVID-19 vaccine after months of holding out after the win.
The lone reason behind getting vaccinated, he said, was because of “my family.”
“I’ll leave it at that,” he said, via NBC Sports’ Chase Hughes.
Beal said D.C. indoor vaccine mandate didn’t impact decision
Beal was one of the last players in the NBA who had not received his vaccine.
He missed the Olympics last summer after landing in coronavirus protocols, and said then that he declined to get vaccinated due to “personal reasons” — though he cited anti-vaccine misinformation earlier this year when doing so.
His comments, naturally, drew heavy backlash, which only prompted Beal to dig in further and stick to his “personal decision.” Beal did, however, completely reject the support of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz after the Texas Republican said he was standing with Beal and other unvaccinated players.
Beal received his vaccination earlier this week, something many thought was due to a new local vaccine mandate for indoor entertainment venues in the District of Columbia. That mandate goes into effect on Jan. 15, something that could have barred Beal from playing in home games — something that Nets star Kyrie Irving faced in Brooklyn.
Though that is a perfectly logical reason to get the vaccine, Beal insisted that it had nothing to do with it.
Bradley Beal said DC's indoor vaccine mandate didn't have a role in his getting vaccinated.
— Andrew Gillis (@Andrew_Gillis70) December 31, 2021
The NBA is about 97% vaccinated, compared to about 71% of Americans aged 12 and up. The league has faced a massive wave of new cases in recent weeks. Seven coaches are currently in protocols, and about one-third of officials are sidelined due to the coronavirus.
As of Thursday, the United States is averaging more than 301,000 new cases each day and set a new all-time record with more than 488,000 cases on Wednesday alone, according to The New York Times.