Shaquille O’Neal Dunks On COVID Vaccine Mandates

By Robert H Alpert - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

LA Lakers’ legend Shaq, who was critical of NBA star Kyrie Irving for refusing to get vaxxed, spoke out against vaccine mandates.

“I encourage everybody to be safe and take care of your family, I do,” he said on Thursday’s episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq.” “But it’s just, people don’t want to take it, and you shouldn’t be forced to take something you don’t want.”

The revelation came when O’Neal and his co-hosts Nischelle Turner and former NFL player Anthony “Spice” Adams were discussing the arrests of two New York nurses, who allegedly forged more than $1 million worth of COVID-19 vaccination cards.

“Don’t send them to jail!” He remarked. “I’m gonna probably get in trouble for this.”

Shaq offered a hypothetical scenario to Turner, who works for “Entertainment Tonight,” in which the show created a get vaxxed or get fired policy. His stance was that it was unfair to make people choose between their jobs and “going against [their] morals” by getting the shot.  

Turner vehemently disagreed with him. “You’re not just affecting yourself,” she said. “You’re putting the public at risk and it’s a public health issue.”

Unmoved by the plight of the unvaccinated, Turner pointed out that the country is “ a capitalist society. It’s a free market society. If you don’t want to follow that company’s policy, then you follow yourself on out the door.” 

“I’m with you on the rules because I’m a rules guy,” O’Neal remarked. “But I do feel sympathetic towards people who have to make that kind of decision.” Turner doesn’t have any sympathy, “not when you’re putting other people at risk,” she contended.

Shaq has not always taken this stance on getting vaccinated, last September, he slammed Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving for refusing the shot.  

“In this line of work, sometimes you have to be selfless,” he commented. “I understand the issues and all that. But I took the vaccine because I’m not trying to get my mother sick, or my sister or my brother or people around me.” 

“I know people say, ‘The vaccine came too fast and is it healthy.’ To each his own. But sometimes you have to think about the overall picture and you have to think about more than yourself,” he concluded.

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