Practically everybody wanted sports to come back. The sheer excitement of going to (or tuning in for) a packed major sporting event – even your local high school’s Friday night football game – was missed by many for months as the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down, or at least kept fans from the stands.
Slowly but surely, thanks to the vaccine, sports are back with a passion. The major professional leagues have not instituted vaccine mandates for players, so to speak, but some leagues and teams are requiring staff and coaches to be vaccinated. While the vaccination rate among players is already high, the NFL has reportedly considered a vaccine mandate for its athletes, but no moves have been made at the time of this writing.
This week, the topic made headlines again when the Brooklyn Nets announced star Kyrie Irving will be barred from playing, both at home in Brooklyn or on the road, until he receives the COVID-19 vaccine. While the NBA does not currently have a mandate in place, local COVID-19 ordinances in New York require most individuals to be at least partially vaccinated to enter sports arenas and other facilities. The team simply took it a step further by barring him from all games, not just home matches.
To get a pulse on the general hypothetical of leagues requiring professional athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19, CivicScience polled more than 2,500 U.S. adults after the Irving news broke this week.
While the results show support for such a measure by a professional league is at nearly 60%, more than 30% say they would not support such a requirement.
But it likely doesn’t matter that 30% of the Gen Pop wouldn’t support it because actual sports fans do. Checking in on NBA and NFL fans, we see 73% and 68% respectively support such a player requirement.
Overall, fans of both leagues are largely vaccinated (or plan to be) against COVID-19, too.
Would this type of requirement shake things up? It’s not likely. Fans are just glad sports are back.