It’s Easy to Cheer for Djokovic, Rodgers, and Irving

CLAY: Buck, I’m fascinated. We haven’t talked a lot about this, but we talked about the issues in Australia as it relates to covid, and much of it seems to be coming to a head. I know you like tennis. I think you went to the U.S. Open here recently.

BUCK: I did, yes! I went to France.

CLAY: Novak Djokovic, the best tennis player in the world right now, is right continuing to fight over whether he’s gonna be allowed to compete at the Australian Open despite the fact that he’s not been vaccinated. Now, he’s had covid multiple times but certainly has had covid and has refused to get vaccinated and this has created a monster story down under.

For those of you who weren’t following this, Djokovic got an exemption, took off from Europe to travel to Australia. While I was in the process of traveling, word of that exemption got out — and when he arrived in Australia, they put him in a hotel room under armed guard and said they were no longer going to grant his exemption. Well, Djokovic went to the courts.

He got his situation reviewed by a judge in Australia who said, “Hey, actually you are going to be able to come into this country,” and so right now — as we are about a week out from the start of the Aussie Open — he is training and getting in shape and getting prepared for this match. But it brings home for many people the focal point of exactly how totalitarian Australia has been, Buck, when it comes to being allowed entry to the country.

Their default rule is effectively, “If you’re not vaccinated, you’re not allowed to come here,” and Djokovic obviously has got an exemption on that, and that has thrust that entire policy which initially was covid zero, right? They locked down, because they’re an island continent. They basically locked down and said, “No one can come in here,” and now they’ve got the vaccine and cases are skyrocketing and they’re looking, I think, for someone to blame, and Djokovic is that target.

BUCK: Now this guy I think has become my favorite tennis player. I mean, my favorite football player, Aaron Rodgers. Wherever he is out there, I need to… I’m not an autograph guy, but I might have to get him to autograph my Aaron Rodgers jersey that I still need to order, but it’s still on my list of things to do. So big, big high fives for Aaron Rodgers for just not the bending the knee to the madness, to Kyrie Irving of the Nets.

Remember, they were taking those stances, particularly Kyrie Irving, before we knew that, “Okay, so the stop-the-spread thing is a total absurd joke in terms of what they promise versus what the reality is.” The Pfizer CEO, I know they’re trying to pull it offline, but the Pfizer CEO saying (impression), “You have some protection after the two shot not really protection, maybe third shot,” you know, Bourla. I got work on my Bourla. It’s getting closer, though.

CLAY: He’s invited, by the way, on the show. Nobody will actually come on the show and answer questions from us if they’re at all worried about MSNBC or CNN. You know, they never actually have a difficult question on those shows, but we would have the CEO of Pfizer on, ’cause I would love to hear him explain why there should be a vaccine mandate when he’s acknowledging that the first two doses of the vaccine do nothing for Omicron.

BUCK: But Djokovic here is a guy who… You know, it’s interesting, the tennis world. You got these two ultrasuperstars, Nadal and Federer, and really the best three certainly of the last, what, 15 or 20 years are Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal, when you look at the overall wins of the majors in tennis. There’s Pete Sampras from before, but I think Pete Sampras has been eclipsed by at least two, if not three of these guys in terms of wins, at least.

But, anyway, Djokovic was thought of being kind of a… Originally, they said he was the joker. He was kind of funny. But then he was considered a little surly and he hasn’t always been on great terms with the fans and people. You know better than anybody, they create these narratives. If I know about it, there’s a narrative out there, right? ‘Cause I don’t follow sports very closely.

But he’s a guy, though, who falls into this category now of sports figures who are actually taking heat for what they believe in. It’s just so funny. You have the whole sports media will talk about how great it is that people kneel during the game. They follow Kaepernick’s lead — and Kaepernick is a clown and a hack and the whole thing was so self-serving, it’s obvious. But here you have people that are at least taking a stand because they don’t agree with what’s going on one way or another.

Now, maybe Djokovic — apparently, he might have — falsified a little information on the travel document. But, you know, look, people are trying to noncomply with this madness in different ways. And Australia, I mean, think about what they’re doing. Their caseload… Australia used to be the place that was like, “Oh, we figured it all out,” right? They were the place that these lockdowners would point to. Cases are through the roof in Australia right now.

CLAY: That’s a hundred percent right — and, Buck, I think what we can’t lose here is you mentioned Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers, you mentioned Novak Djokovic, and also Kyrie Irving. What do all those guys have in common? They’re excellent at their chosen profession. And they, I believe, are speaking out for a lot of guys who are on the periphery or the borderland of whether or not they’re going to be able to play as pro athletes.

And it doesn’t surprise me that if you’re a backup linebacker on the Green Bay Packers and you know that you’re right on the edge of whether or not you’re gonna be a pro athlete, if there’s a mandate for the vaccine effectively in the NFL — which effectively there is. It’s not officially a mandate, but 97% of them did. You don’t want to rock the boat because you don’t want to give your boss a reason to kick you off the team for not following the rules.

That’s why you need people like Aaron Rodgers, Kyrie Irving, and Novak Djokovic because they are in such positions of prominence that their talent guarantees. The Packers ain’t gonna release Aaron Rodgers over covid because if they did, 31 other teams almost would be making a claim to try to get him. Same thing with Kyrie Irving and the Nets, and Djokovic is arguably the best tennis player in the world. It’s a lot easier to stay quiet or go along with the consensus. I give these guys a lot of credit for speaking out.

BUCK: Think about this too: You are held in Australia now for how many days if you’re Djokovic because you’re not vaccinated? But he had the virus. He’s probably past the window of contagion. He certainly passed the CDC order for five days and then you can go out there, which we know they just changed from 10.

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: They’re still not even talking about natural immunity, folks. There is so much more here that is a mess than about the science. It is about control and power, and it’s obvious for anybody willing to open their eyes and take the mask off their face — which is a very liberating experience, I might add.