Basketball fans and players slammed former NBA point guard John Stockton’s COVID stance on social media on Monday, while praising Stockton’s alma mater, Gonzaga University, for suspending his season tickets.
Stockton, 59, is widely known for his anti-vaccine views and reportedly refused to wear a mask while attending Gonzaga basketball games, in violation of the university’s indoor mask mandate. As a result, the school suspended its season tickets for the rest of the year.
The move entered into a feud with Stockton at the University of Spokane, Washington, widely regarded as his most famous athletic alumnus. After an extraordinary college career with Gonzaga, Stockton would be drafted in 1984 by the NBA’s Utah Jazz, with whom he would spend his entire professional career.
Stockton reiterated several unproven conspiracy theories regarding the COVID vaccine in an interview spokesperson review Following Gonzaga’s decision, which claimed that a large number of people died as a result of the vaccine.
“I think it’s over-recorded now, 150 now, I believe, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead—professional athletes—prime of their lives, leaving those who have been vaccinated, on the pitch, On the field, right on the court,” claimed Stockton.
This claim has been widely shown as untrue by the medical community. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported more than 529 million doses of the vaccine administered in 2021, of which less than 0.0022 percent died from a potential complication of the shot.
Stockton also claimed in the interview that “children and children … have a virtually zero statistical risk of harm from disease and a significant statistical risk of harm from the side effects of so-called vaccines.”
This has also been proven to be similarly untrue, as several studies found that unvaccinated young people were still at risk of contracting serious illness or possible death from COVID. While younger people may experience more side effects from the vaccine, according to the CDC, these symptoms usually disappear within a few days.
Following Stockton’s claims, people on social media criticized Point Guard for spreading misinformation, while also praising Gonzaga for his actions.
“Someone should tell John Stockton how silly he sounds about all of this,” tweeted @jackfrank_jjf. “Everything about his stance is embarrassing.”
“Well done, Gonzaga,” wrote a user @PlagueDocIsIn on Twitter. “Yet another athlete who thinks he’s better than everyone else. It’s getting old.”
Fans were not the only ones to speak up, as some of Stockton’s former contemporaries also expressed their displeasure at his claims.
Another NBA Hall of Famer Detlef Schrempf called Stockton’s thoughts “bat s**t crazy.”
“I’m so disappointed that we have so many role models that don’t fit the job.” Schrempf wrote on Twitter. “It’s not helping!”
Hall of Famer and humanitarian Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, widely regarded as one of the greatest players in NBA history, said on CNN that Stockton’s views “convinced athletes into something basically dumb jocks”. To try to see the public in what is clearly an epidemic.”
“I think John [Stockton’s] The response to the vaccine is extreme and not based on reality or facts. If John can just check the facts, he will understand that this vaccine is saving lives,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
newsweek The Utah Jazz reached out for comment.