ESPN’s Smith: Unvaccinated Athletes Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Play

Tuesday, ESPN “First Take” host Stephen A. Smith said NFL players were “lucky” he is not in Commissioner Roger Goodell’s place.

While teams make roster decisions, some based on a player’s vaccination status, Smith said that if he ran the NFL, anybody refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus amid the ongoing pandemic “wouldn’t be allowed to play.”

“They’re lucky I ain’t running the NFL,” Smith declared. “Best Interest of the League Clause. You wouldn’t play. If it were me — I tried to talk to the players association. We couldn’t come to an agreement. Coaches, staff, other folks employed by the leagues have to be vaccinated. The only people that it’s not mandated for are the players because they have a union, the players association, that’s protecting them from what? Because I’ve got news for you. You ain’t protecting them, and you ain’t protecting us. The reality is that if you end up testing positive, you can have an effect on somebody else, OK?”

During his rant, Smith targeted athletes who say their vaccination status is a private matter.

“I think it’s shameful when athletes talk about, ‘Oh it’s a private matter,'” Smith emphasized. “It is not a private matter because it affects anybody that’s standing right next to you. … You’re not living a private life. This is ridiculous.”

The host went on to say he wants to “slap” those who say they are hesitant to take the vaccine because they don’t know what is in it.

“If I hear one more person … talk to me about, ‘What’s in the vaccine?’ I swear — I might slap them with my phone,” Smith stated. “I can’t take it, and here’s the reason why … also, the flu shot, you know, chickenpox, all these shots you’ve been taking all these years. … People take supplements and vitamins.”

“We go to the doctor, we feeling sick, the doctor prescribes the medicine, we go to CVS, to Rite Aid or something, we pick it up and we take the medicine,” he continued. “Why all of a sudden are we acting like we’re dissecting and picking apart one ingredient after another? It’s the biggest damn lie imaginable. They’re full of it.”

Smith concluded, “If it were me, they wouldn’t even be allowed to play. They wouldn’t be allowed to play at all.”

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent


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