While someone's thoughts on vaccines were previously privately-held beliefs, those opinions have since become more difficult to hide, especially in the world of sports. The NFL, for instance, is requiring certain employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 unless there are valid medical or religious reasons, and there are fairly severe consequences for players who opt not to get the vaccine. Since those rules were revealed and the memos from the league were sent out, we have heard from Cole Beasley, DeAndre Hopkins, Leonard Fournette and others who feel strongly against the vaccine.
Many people agree with them. Many people disagree with them. What everyone can agree on, though, is that vaccine preferences are no longer a private matter, seeing as we may never have known how any of these athletes felt about other vaccines before such an unprecedented time made this impossible. Another reason this may be the case is because not getting the vaccine can directly harm others, as science has shown, and there have been several prominent figures who have voiced out against those who have chosen not to get the vaccine for that fact alone.
You can count basketball legend and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley among that group. He shared his thoughts with CNBC and certainly didn't sugar coat his feelings toward those who chose not to get vaccinated.
"Yes, I'm vaccinated. Everybody should be vaccinated. Period," Barkley said. "The only people who are not vaccinated are just a--holes.
"Can you imagine if one of these guys that are not vaccinated, if they get one of these players' kids, wives, girlfriends, moms and dads sick and they die over some unnecessary conspiracy bulls---? I think that would be tragic."
Barkley thinks that sports leagues should mandate that players get the vaccine, similar to how it can work in a corporate environment.
"There's s--- you can't do at work and there's s--- that [you] have to do at work," Barkley said. "So every workplace has rules and I think one of the rules [should be] that guys have to be vaccinated."
Though many American sports leagues do not require their athletes to be vaccinated, the regulations that the leagues have laid out, along with the seemingly general consensus among players that it's the right thing to do, has resulted in some fairly promising results. As Jade Scipioni of CNBC pointed out, up to 80 percent of NFL players, 90 percent of NBA players and 85 percent of MLB players have begun the vaccination process with at least their first dose.