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‘Idiocy At Its Height’: ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Mocks Sixers Guard For Refusing To Get Another COVID-19 Shot

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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was screaming and yelling Monday morning, calling Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle “dumb” for his refusal to take the second Pfizer COVID-19 shot, which would have made him fully vaccinated and eligible to play in Philadelphia’s playoff road games in Toronto. 

On Sunday, Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle announced that he is not “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 — something that was rumored to be the case for many weeks — and will not be able to play in his team’s road games against the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. 

In November, Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced the end of vaccine exemptions for professional athletes starting January 15. 

“As of January 15th, there will no longer be an exemption in place for professional and amateur athletes,” said Mendicino, a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s governing Liberal Party.

Thybulle told reporters that he did receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last year, saying that the “greater good held a lot of weight for me.” After seeing that fully vaccinated individuals could still contract and spread the virus, Thybulle opted against receiving his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Smith found this fact shocking, and went about his morning ranting and raving on ESPN’s airwaves.  

“What the hell am I supposed to call somebody who takes the vaccine shot and takes the first shot and forgets to take the second shot? Dumb! That’s what you call them,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Monday. “What the hell is going on? Kyrie [Irving] was principled. I disagree with him because I felt he owed it to the team but dammit, he took his position and he was clear. ‘I ain’t taking the vaccine.’ Jaylen Brown reportedly, guess what, he might not have taken the vaccine. Okay? Thybulle took it, He just forgot to take the second shot. You got to be kidding me.”

“How in the hell do you take the Pfizer … everybody and their mama, not just in the United States of America but globally,” Smith continued. “I mean, in Istanbul for crying out loud. Everybody knows the vaccine with the Pfizer and the Moderna, they’re two shots. Johnson & Johnson is one. What are we gonna say that Thybulle confused Johnson & Johnson with Pfizer or Moderna? That’s what we’re gonna do? We’ll use that as an excuse and if he has that excuse, we’re gonna say the whole Sixers organization had that excuse. I mean, just idiocy! I mean, idiocy at its height!”

On Sunday, Thybulle explained why he decided against becoming fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“As things progressed and this virus has changed in many different ways, it just showed to the science that that wasn’t the case anymore, that even while being vaccinated, you can still spread the disease.,” Thybulle said. “So for me, in my reasoning, it felt like getting vaccinated was not something I need to do to protect other people, and it was something that I would have to do to then protect myself and with that being considered and the holistic background of my upbringing and just the way I view medicine in general, I felt like I was secure in going to the doctors that I have to treat COVID if I did get it and in the case that I did, I was able to go about it in my holistic way and I’m able to sit here today healthy and be OK because of it.”

It’s a tough blow for the Sixers, who will miss Thybulle’s defensive presence. Last year, Thybulle was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team. 

Smith is not new to dishing on unvaccinated NBA players. Even though he stated that Irving’s decision to remain unvaccinated was “principled” on Monday, he was singing a different tune in December. 

“I think it’s a horrible move. I think it’s a disgraceful move,” Smith said in December when asked if this was the best move for the Nets’ organization. “I think that Nets ownership is incredibly disappointing and I think that the league should intervene.” 

“I’m open to the league invoking its ‘best interest of the game’ clause and mandating that everybody be vaccinated in some capacity,” Smith continued

The Sixers begin their playoff series against the Raptors on Saturday, April 16, in Philadelphia.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

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