The Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors will square up in the first round of the NBA playoffs starting Saturday. But once the series shifts to Canada, the 76ers will be without one of their best defensive players.
No, guard Matisse Thybulle does not have an injury that renders him unable to play. He can not play in Canada because he does not meet the country's unnecessarily strict vaccination requirements.
Currently, if any foreign national wants to travel into Canada, they have to have at least received two doses of any combination of an extensive list of available vaccines. But as Thybulle revealed on Sunday, his decision was not rooted in some conspiracy theory about how the vaccines do not protect you from getting COVID (which they don't).
Thybulle detailed how he was raised in a family that had a more "holistic" approach to medicine and used a variety of different medical resources to keep themselves healthy. Thybulle did eventually get one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but after seeing that the vaccine was not the effective preventative treatment everyone claimed it was, the guard decided not to get another dose.
"I felt like if I'm going to be a part of society in the position I'm in, I need to do what's right for the greater good. That argument of the greater good held a lot of weight for me," he said. But once the vaccine was shown to be ineffective, "it just showed to the science that that wasn't the case anymore, that even while being vaccinated, you can still spread the disease."
The defense of his position is about as sharp as his defense on the court.
In addition to not being able to call him "anti-vaccine," Thybulle has offered about as level-headed a defense as we've seen from anyone in the sports world on why you shouldn't get the vaccine unless you want to. It's not effective to the extent that all the medical "experts" said it was, and it's not the end-all-be-all solution to keep yourself safe from the effects of COVID. So if you do not want to take, no one should force you too!
Thybulle knows that the consequences of his stance could be wide-ranging, but he is willing to accept those because he believes that this is the right medical decision for him.
Carry on, Matisse, and more power to you for the decision you have made.