Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins has tried his damndest to avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Remaining unvaccinated has been a bigger problem for Wiggins than it is for NBA players who do not play for teams in New York City or San Francisco, as both of those cities have vaccine mandates that would prevent players from being able to even enter the local arenas if unvaccinated. Wiggins applied for a religious exemption, which was denied, and that has brought us to this point: Wiggins told reporters yesterday that he has finally, reluctantly, been vaccinated.
“The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins said, before going on a bit of a rant about what an injustice all of this is:
“They didn’t make the rule, but I guess to do certain stuff, to work, I guess you don’t own your body. That’s what it comes down to. If you want to work in society today, then I guess they made the rules of what goes in your body and what you do. Hopefully, there’s a lot of people out there that are stronger than me and keep fighting, stand for what they believe, and hopefully, it works out for them.”ESPN
Once you get past Wiggins whining about whether or not he “owns his own body,” what you have here is an example of good policy in action. Yes, there are certain rules that you have to follow in order to live and work in society, and the job of defining what those rules are falls onto our political systems, which ostensibly act for the common good. The government of San Francisco decided to institute a vaccine mandate for the same reason there are speed limits on the highway—because a problem that requires widespread, collective action in order to solve can be most effectively addressed through political will, not individual choices.
You can even feel some sympathy for Wiggins here, if you want to. It does indeed suck to feel like you have no choice but to do something you really don’t want to do in order to maintain your livelihood and access to all that society has to offer, but someone in his position eventually deciding to buck up and take their (in this case literal) medicine—a decision that sacrifices a small, symbolic measure of personal freedom in favor of providing meaningful freedom and safety to all those around him—is the ideal outcome. Nobody who wants this pandemic to end needs to spend any more time trying to convince holdouts of the virtues of the vaccine than they would trying to convince someone that it is actually fun to drive slow instead of fast. We just need more people to become vaccinated, and Wiggins, bless him, just provided a shining example of how that goal can be accomplished.