NBA superstar LeBron James was blasted by ABC’s ‘The View’ Thursday for refusing to advocate people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus and declaring the decision to take a vaccine was each individual’s “own choice.”
All five co-hosts were united in calling on James to use his prominent position to convince his followers to get vaccinated, claiming it was his responsibility, and if he didn’t want to speak out it could hurt his ability to be an advocate for other issues in the future.
“Well, it’s kind of funny because if it’s not your job that means that some of those folks that would be coming to see you play are not going to come see you play because they can’t get in,” co-host Whoopi Goldberg said after playing a video clip of James saying he would not be advocating for the vaccine.
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“It’s not your job to tell people what to do, but you can suggest that you’ve figured out nobody grew a second head or a tail when they got the shot. I mean, I don’t know why that would be hard for folks,” she added, becoming more frustrated as she spoke.
Co-host Ana Navarro claimed it was a “privilege” but also a “responsibility” as a public person for James to speak out on vaccines. She added that privacy didn’t come along with the privilege of being a public person.
“You have a responsibility to those people that made you to share what you know and to try to get them to do the right thing,” Navarro said. “I’m sorry, I wish we had private lives. We don’t. We are public people with a lot of privileges and that’s the responsibility that comes along with it.”
Co-host Sunny Hostin agreed and referenced fans calling him “King James” because of his influence amongst a large number of young people.
“I was really deeply disappointed that he said that just because he has such a large platform,” Hostin said. “In America we talk about personal freedoms so much because it is really the foundation of our country, but what we have to realize is that as citizens … we don’t have the right to harm our colleagues and our colleagues’ families.”
“Your right, LeBron, to a healthy life is not greater than another person’s right to a healthy life,” she added.
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Co-hosts Joy Behar and Sara Haines also called for James to speak out, with Haines pointing to him being Black as an additional reason he should be a greater advocate and referencing the high level of vaccine hesitancy among African Americans.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, center, scores past Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder, right, during the second half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
“If you don’t want to speak out, remember you said that, because it’s going to come back and bite you in the behind when you want to talk about issues that are bothering you. Just know that people are going to come back and say, ‘Well why are you talking now?’” Goldberg added.
“This is really important, LeBron, whether you decide to talk about why you and your family got vaccinated, it is important for you as an American citizen, for me as an American citizen, for all of us to do our part here,” she said.
James has won NBA championships with the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers and is considered one of the greatest players of all time. He is an outspoken progressive on numerous political issues.
Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.