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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Celtics’ Horford ‘declares himself fully vaccinated’ in new interview

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The Boston Celtics have found themselves the focus of COVID-19 player vaccination speculation since several starters sat out a game against the Toronto Raptors in Canada in late March due to the country’s policy on not allowing unvaccinated athletes to play in Raptors home games.

Veteran big man Al Horford and star forward Jaylen Brown were singled out, despite statements from both that they would be available to play in a series with Toronto. That speculation refused to go away due to reluctance from both to declare exactly what their COVID-19 vaccination status is.

Brown has gone on record to relate that his role as a National Basketball Players’ Association (NBPA) vice president puts him in a position to safeguard such information and to fight that it remains private, often referring to vaccination as a personal choice.

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This was mirrored not only in the words of admittedly vaccinated and fellow NBPA VP Grant Williams, but also in the policy of the team reaffirmed by team president Brad Stevens dating to the tenure of Danny Ainge, which is seemingly the position of team ownership.

Now, in response to the lingering questions about Horford, Brown and the team’s vaccination status generally, that language has been echoed by Horford in a recent interview with the Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach in which the former Florida player revealed he is indeed vaccinated.

“Horford said he was aware that his absence from the recent Toronto game made some wonder about his future availability, but added that he would be able to play,” wrote Himmelsbach.

“He said this remains a personal matter for the players, and he declined to go into further detail.”

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“It’s something I haven’t wanted to discuss,” related Horford.

“I think with the Celtics, we made it clear we’re not going to discuss those things, and it’s a health matter, and we all respect everybody’s individual perspectives. That’s why I’m not going to get into it and talk about it. But I’m ready to go.”

Much of the controversy has revolved around single-sourced, anonymous reports and speculationin turn prompting reflection on how such reporting and PR required to be given the sensitive but important nature of COVID-19 vaccination in the world beyond the NBA and within it.

Doubt will likely linger regardless of what players say by this point after so much ink has been spilled to muddy the waters — doubt that would only go away with all key Celtics taking the floor in Toronto.

“At this time of year, you’re curious, you definitely want to know,” Horford said to the Globe.

“But the only thing we can control is continuing to get better ourselves. It’s in the back of everybody’s mind but we can’t worry about that at the end of the day. We have to handle our business.”

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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