*Former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal has been quite vocal about players and athletes getting the COVID-19 vaccination but it seems he has a change of heart toward vaccine mandates.
While Shaq remains pro-vax, he’s not down with individuals being emotionally manipulated to choose between getting vaccinated and keeping their jobs.
“Look, I encourage everybody to be safe and take care of your family, I do,” O’Neal said on a recent episode of The Big Podcast With Shaq with co-hosts Nischelle Turner and Anthony “Spice” Adams. “But there’s still some people that don’t wanna take it. And you shouldn’t have to be forced to take something you don’t want.”
Shaq said he feels “sympathetic towards people who have to make that kind of decision.”
NBA LEGEND Shaquille O’Neal BRUTALLY Dunks on Vaccine Mandates pic.twitter.com/WufnsPfRll
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 4, 2022
Turner noted that her employer, CBS, has a vaccine mandate among workers, to which O’Neal added: “That’s forced.”
“It is forced. Because if the man don’t take it, the man gonna get fired,” he said.
O’Neal previously slammed Nets guard Kyrie Irving for not getting vaccinated. In September, O’Neal said on his podcast that if he was a teammate with Irving, he would have told him to “get his a– up out of here.”
“In this game of ours, sometimes you have to think about other people rather than yourself. Now, Kyrie has his views. He has his opinions. I’m not going to knock that, but he does have an obligation because he took that 200 million.
“… But if you’re on my team and you can’t play home games, I don’t want you around. Like, we have a chance to win and if you ain’t on the program, go somewhere else, period.”
O’Neal said he would use physical violence to get Irving to comply and take the jab.
“I don’t see how the team could put up with that, I’m just saying, O’Neal said on his podcast. “If he was on my team I’d have to put hands on him.
“I know for a fact that these windows of winning championships, you don’t have them a lot,” he continued. “All that stuff just playing on the road, you can’t get in no rhythm like that.”