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The NFL needs to get its act together with vaccinations

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As we approach NFL training camps, a common question for players has been their vaccination status. Despite overwhelming resources and motivation to prevent illness, players are still avoiding getting vaccinated at alarming rates.

On Wednesday, two players, Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold and Washington defensive end Montez Sweat, both positioned themselves as being anti-vaccination through either inaction or outwardly disagreeing with the process. Darnold, largely non-commital on receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, said he was “still evaluating the situation.” Meanwhile, Sweat said he “wasn’t a fan” of the vaccine — even after Washington brought an infectious disease expert to speak to players.

“I haven’t caught Covid yet,” Sweat said, “so I don’t see me treating Covid until I actually get COVID.”

Both players used a similar refrain: They needed to know more. At this point, it is a laughable justification for not receiving the Covid-19 vaccine that’s more couched in conspiracy theory and ignorance than science. Scientists and public health experts worldwide have declared the suite of vaccines safe. Clinical trials before the release of vaccines showed their efficacy. We’re now six months into the largest sample of a newly-released vaccine in human history, with a number of side effects so minute in comparison they fall into the range of statistical insignificance.

At this point saying “I need to know more” isn’t a mark of an intelligent, scrupulous approach — but an ignorant one. The only true unknown at this point is how much damage will be caused to society by people not getting vaccinated out of fear or a misguided belief they’re taking some sort of political stand by refusing to protect themselves and others. It’s been established that it’s highly unlikely Covid-19 will be completely eliminated by vaccination alone at this point, more likely becoming endemic requiring periodic shots, similar to the flu shot. However, the more people who refuse to get vaccinated, the more opportunity the virus has to spread — increasing the potential for mutation.

As it stands there are a variety of strains of Covid-19, with the most dangerous being the Delta strain, which has mutated out of India following the country’s outbreak. Current vaccinations are expected to protect against the mutated strains, according to the World Health Organization, but with large numbers of people refusing to get vaccinated it creates a petrie dish for the virus to survive, thrive, spread and potentially mutate in ways current vaccines do not protect against.

So any argument that this is a “personal decision” is moot. In isolation, one person refusing to get vaccinated only puts themselves at risk, but when 50 percent of the population decides not to get vaccinated, they put everyone at risk. Darnold and Sweat, both in positions of notoriety and influence essentially endorse the anti-vaccination movement when they say they “need to learn more.”

It’s curious that two NFL players would be so against getting injections. After all, this is a league where shooting players up with copious amounts of the painkiller Toradol in order to have them play through pain is one of the most common treatments seen in any locker room at halftime. A drug with known risk and side effects so great that former defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth credited the over-use of Toradol as a reason he needed a kidney transplant in his 30s. A drug that the NFL is now urging teams to limit, because it’s been abused to the point of becoming a danger to players.

Maybe Darnold and Sweat have refused to ever get a Toradol shot in the locker room. I’d wager that most of their peers haven’t.

While Washington are bringing in health experts to try and convince players not to be dumb and get vaccinated, and the Panthers are taking a passive approach and turning this into personal choice — at least one NFL coach is being a voice of reason.

Sadly, Arians’ stand is a voice far too quiet across the world of sport. Far more coaches and officials would rather not rock the boat than call this for what it is: Utter selfishness and stupidity. It was stupid when LeBron James won’t say if he got vaccinated while playing in a league where Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother died, and Jayson Tatum still needs an inhaler months after contracting the disease in order to play. It’s stupid now for NFL players to give credence to anti-vaxxers by suggesting there’s more to learn.

Washington coach Ron Rivera said the team’s coaching staff and front office has reached 100 percent vaccination, but players are lagging behind at “approaching 50 percent.” Prompting the team feeling like it needed to bring in an expert to discuss with players, but even then Sweat felt his knowledge of viral and infectious disease as a football player was greater than that of a Harvard-educated virologist.

What we need, in all sports, is further intervention to protect players from themselves. The NFL and NFLPA agreed to institute concussion protocols to avoid players from re-entering games with traumatic head injury and risk life-altering debilitation. The same needs to happen with Covid. Teams get to make any number of medical decisions to players, it’s an accepted part of the process.

Now the NFL and NFLPA need to intervene, and say if players are willing to make their personal choice not to get vaccinated, they’re also making a personal choice not to play until they do.

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LeBron James reacts to Lakers signing Carmelo Anthony and other free agents

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James responded to the team’s active participation in free agency so far, leading some to state he’s the real general manager.

James has long had a say in who joins his team, and who doesn’t. Dating back to his days with the Miami Heat, where he created the Big 3 on the fly, LeBron has orchestrated some of the best superteams the NBA has ever seen.

LeBron took to his instagram story after Lakers general manager (the real one, we presume) Rob Pelinka inked Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and Carmelo Anthony. They also traded for Russell Westbrook.

https://twitter.com/pickuphoop/status/1422664238183628803

That is…a ton of roster moves, and it should make for a completely retooled Lakers squad come the start of the 2021-22 season.

NBA Free Agency: Are the Lakers favorites to win the Title?

The Brooklyn Nets remain the technical favorites, per WynnBet. But that could change at any moment, as the Lakers continue to be active on the free agent market.

The Lakers roster remains ancient in terms of average player age, so staying healthy will be paramount to a team that lost both of its star players in James and Anthony Davis for long stretches last season.

The Western Conference is also as competitive as ever. Assuming the Clippers can bring back Kawhi Leonard, they’ll be a force. The Denver Nuggets should return Jamal Murray, and the Jazz had the best regular-season record in the conference. Oh, and how about those Phoenix Suns, who made the NBA Finals? Chris Paul is back in the desert.

Where, exactly, do the Lakers fit in? Considering them favorites in a crowded conference without playing a game together feels like a stretch.

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Naomi Osaka, Sofia Kenin withdraw from National Bank Open

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Naomi Osaka and Sofia Kenin are among the latest top players to withdraw from the upcoming National Bank Open, the tournament announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes after a slew of big names on the men’s side — including Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and Stan Wawrinka — dropped out of the event, formerly known as the Rogers Cup, late last month.

“I am sorry to be missing out on Montreal this year,” said Osaka, who is fresh off competing at the Tokyo Olympics, in a press release.

“Sending my best to all the fans there, the tournament and the staff. I hope to see you all in Canada next year,” added the world No. 2.

Kenin, the fourth-ranked player on the WTA Tour, continues to recover from a foot injury that has kept her sidelined since Wimbledon.

“I’m really disappointed to withdraw from the event in Montreal next week,” said Kenin. “While I’m making progress, my foot injury is not where I need it to be to play at the highest level. I feel another week of recovery and rehab is necessary. I want to thank Tennis Canada for all its efforts in holding the event during such challenging times. Best of luck to all the players.”

World No. 8 Iga Swiatek will also skip out on the tournament, which is set to kick off Aug. 6 with the men’s side in Montreal and the women in Toronto, to rest and prepare for the final stretch of the season.

With Osaka, Kenin and Swiatek out, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus becomes the first seed.

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WI vs PAK 4th T20I: Babar Azam’s Pakistan clinch series 1-0 after rain washes out 4th T20 as well

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WI vs PAK 4th T20I: Babar Azam’s Pakistan clinch series 1-0 against Kieron Pollard’s West Indies after rain washes out 4th T20 as well

WI vs PAK 4th T20I: Babar Azam’s Pakistan win series 1-0 after rain washes out 4th T20: Babar Azam’s Pakistan won the 4-match T20 series against West Indies after rain washed out the 4th and final T20I as well. West Indies Kieron Pollard will be disappointed the way the series ended. Fletcher and Chris Gayle gave West Indies a good start but the covers had to come on within 3 overs.

After the win against Australia 4-1, West Indies were on a high but they fell short in the 2nd T20I against Pakistan by 7 runs while the other 3 matches were washed out, dealing a blow to their chances. It also means that Pakistan now have won three back-to-back series in West Indies.


Babar Azam | Pakistan captain: “As a team we wanted to execute a few plans, try combinations, but we couldn’t do that because of rain. Difficult to stay away from family in these times and play cricket. But credit to the management for doing well. We wanted to improve on the areas we were lacking, try combinations. We have a few more games to do that. Looking forward to the Tests. We will now switch our minds to the Test format,” quoted Cricbuzz.

The two teams will next lock horns against each other in two-match Test series. The opening Test will kick off on August 12 (Thursday).

WI vs PAK 4th T20I LIVE:

@11:55 PM: Bad news, the 4th T20 too has been abandoned with Babar Azam’s Pakistan winning the series 1-0.

@11:33 PM: Cut-off time for the match is 11:59 PM for a 5-an-over match.

@11:30 PM: Twist in tale, it’s drizzling, covers are back on

@11:15 PM: Play to resume at 11:30 PM. Over reduced to 9 a side.

@11:10 PM: Play likely to resume at 11:30 Pm IST, a decision on number of overs soon

@11:00 PM: Umpires on the field, a decision on number of overs soon.

@10:40 PM: Official inspection at 10:50 PM IST. Match is set to resume.

WI vs PAK 4th T20I LIVE: @10:31 PM: Some good news at last. The rain has stopped and the covers are coming off.

@10:20 PM: The news isn’t good. The intensity of the rain has decreased but it’s still pouring.

@9:50 PM: No respite from rain as West Indies and Pakistan wait for rain to pass. If it gets washed out again, West Indies will lose the series 1-0.

WI vs PAK 4th T20I LIVE: @9:35 PM: It’s still raining but not as heavy as before. Should clear up in 10-15 minutes time as per weather report.

@9:10 PM: Not good news, it has started pouring heavily now and more covers are being brought in now.

@9:00 PM: The rain is not heavy but no stopping yet.

@8:48 PM: Rain comes back to play spoilsport once again. It remains to be seen how long it takes for rain to go away. Covers are on, outfield is also covered.

Over 3: Fletcher looks in mood, hammers Hasan Ali for a 4. WI 30/0

Over 2: Another good over. Chris Gayle in charge, takes on Wasim Jr. WI 26/0

Over 1: Mohammed Hafeez opens bowling again for Pakistan but Andre Flecther is all over him, hammers him for 2 6s. WI 14/0

WI vs PAK 4th T20I LIVE: West Indies Innings: 30/0 (3 ovs)

Andre Fletcher Not out 17 12 1 2 141.67
Chris Gayle Not out 12 6 2 0 200.00
Extra 1 (b 0, w 0, nb 0, lb 1)
Total 30/0 (3)
Yet To Bat Shimron HetmyerDJ BravoNicholas PooranKieron PollardAD RussellJason HolderRomario ShepherdHayden WalshAJ Hosein

 

As for Playing XI, as predicted, both have fielded an unchanged XI.

West Indies (Playing XI): Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran(w), Kieron Pollard(c), Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh, Akeal Hosein

Pakistan (Playing XI): Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Rizwan(w), Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Sohaib Maqsood, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir

West Indies vs Pakistan: For all updates on cricket and Pakistan tour of West Indies, follow insidesport.co

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