Dwight Howard has been very open about his frequent decision to not wear a mask inside the NBA’s bubble at Walt Disney World amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Los Angeles Lakers center often posts to social media or goes live without one on, and has questioned why players were even made to wear them in the first place.
On Sunday, he took things a step further.
After going live on Instagram while not wearing a mask despite being around others, Howard was asked if he believed in vaccinations.
“No, I don’t,” he replied. “That’s my personal opinion, but no, I don’t.”
Howard also said, according to USA Today, that he “didn’t know that the coronavirus be flying through the air looking for people,” though that’s essentially how the virus — or most viruses, for that matter — works.
Part of Howard’s logic for not wearing a mask is that he and others inside the bubble aren’t around anyone who is coming in and out of Disney World, and that he thinks he can’t contract it inside. That, however, isn’t the case. While players, coaches and other team staff are stuck inside, Disney World employees are allowed to come and go.
He claimed “somebody told on me” through the anonymous tip line for not wearing a mask earlier this week, too, though he has repeatedly shared videos where he’s not wearing a mask — making it extremely likely that he just told on himself.
Given how the pandemic is surging in the state — Florida had more than 350,000 confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and is averaging nearly 12,000 new cases a day over the past week — it is very possible that the virus can still get in the bubble. If players like Howard were to wear a mask around the campus, it would significantly limit the risk of them or others contracting the virus.
Not only is his anti-mask crusade problematic for a league attempting to resume play for the first time in five months during a global pandemic, but his anti-vaccination beliefs — something that has been repeatedly disproven — are even more so.
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