The reaction to Bronny James’ proves how loopy the sports wing of anti-vaxxers is. Bronny James’ cardiac arrest animated the worst example of disconfirmation bias plaguing. Anytime they’ve witnessed a cardiac incident since 2021, a segment of society rears their head to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with Pfizer and Moderna. The most athletic thing most of them have ever done is jump to conclusions on the rare occasions an athlete collapses. Somewhere along the line, COVID vaccines became some all-inclusive conspiracy for any and any evidence that refutes their claims is cast aside.
The sports wing of the anti-vax community is as nuanced as a preschool classroom. Minutes after Bronny’s condition was reported, I peeped a message from a non-medical expert in our hoops group chat that read, “First thing I thought of was the vax.” It was an interesting response considering sudden cardiac death was the main cause of sports and exercise-related mortality in athletes before the pandemic. The NCAA even examined the issue from 2005 to 2015, well before the pandemic, and twenty states require automated external defibrillators (AEDS) in schools that offer sports.
Gone are the days when a healthy athlete suffering from cardiac arrest became a sobering moment. When Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis both collapsed and later passed away, there were no internet forums blaming a vast government conspiracy on healthy, young athletes suffering cardiac arrest.
What you’ll find is that most of these theories are vacuous, and devoid of any verifiable facts. Worst of all, it’s become an information silo.
And as a result, Bronny has become the symbol of a cardiac arrest epidemic that doesn’t exist. Ironically, the original purpose of COVID-19 vaccines was to mitigate death and hospitalizations caused by COVID-19 infections. Millions died during the pandemic from the coronavirus. The vaccine worked, but not perfectly, which meant COVID deniers like Tray Clavis (or whatever his name is) who thought it would come and go with a few thousand infected have had to latch onto a new conspiracy to mitigate their COVID-denying idiocy. This time they conjured up a ‘cure has been worse than the disease’ fantasy. Once the vaccine misinformation originated, it spread to influencers like the aforementioned Clay Travis, Joe Rogan, and John Stockton who peddled it to the anti-vax masses until it became orthodoxy.
Update: A fact-checking message on Elon Musk’s tweet which attempted to link James’ cardiac arrest with the vaccine appeared and was subsequently deleted.
“We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing,” Musk said. “Myocarditis is a known side-effect. The only question is whether it is rare or common.”
Sometimes the anti-vax conspiracy theories are so convoluted that those who ascribe to them can’t even agree on what the conspiracy actually is. Right-wing Chi McBride, Jason Whitlock, believes the final layer on the vaccine conspiracy cake is that Bronny, LeBron, and thousands of other athletes never actually got the vaccine because they worried something was wrong with it.
After taking that spin through the Pepe Silvia side of the spectrum, let’s venture back to reality. Multiple studies have found that myocarditis is a rare side effect of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. But why listen to peer-reviewed studies when Twitter’s (X’s?) new braindead boss, Elon Musk is spewing garbage that lets conspiracy theorists off the hook for their lack of evidence supporting the harebrained idea that vaccines are IEDs? In a survey of nearly 43 million people, one study of individuals who received at least one dose between December 2020 and Dec. 15, 2021, found that myocarditis occurred in 2,861 people, or 0.007% of the vaccinated. Most occurred 1 to 28 days after vaccination, and yet we’ll be hearing about this nonsense for years to come.
The pandemic proved that there’s not much difference between humans and bees. For one thing, some of us clearly did not do well in isolation and others found a conspiratorial hive mind. Lastly, there’s not much difference between bees stinging mammals, getting their stingers stuck, then unintentionally disemboweling themselves, and humans convincing themselves COVID vaccines were toxic. The problem with dolts who have a pathological need to be right is that they don’t possess the bandwidth to realize when they’re being destructive.
If you’ve been following the circular reasoning of this crowd since 2020 they’ve believed that masks were killing us, catching COVID was allegedly good, but the deadly “Plandemic” was simultaneously planned by nefarious forces, vaccines are bad, aaaand also are ineffective at preventing COVID deaths. Don’t try presenting evidence. They’ll only swear that the proof is being suppressed. At the same time, vaccine deniers on respirators were expressing their regrets over not getting vaccinated.
What you’ll find is that most of these theories are vacuous and devoid of any verifiable facts. Not a single reputable article or study has correlated a COVID-19 vaccination to increased incidents of sudden cardiac death. Following Damar Hamlin’s collapse, which has been attributed to blunt force trauma, viral posts claiming that more athletes died of cardiac arrest since the vaccine rollout than between 1966 and 2004 were thoroughly debunked.
The lure of conspiracies is that it allows narcissists and halfwits to feel like the smartest person in the room because they’ve uncovered some verboten truth. Worst of all, is that there’s no endgame for delusional nincompoops besides receiving the confidence boost derived from it.
It takes a minute for misinformation to spread and years, sometimes decades for the marks to admit they were duped. Sadly, if there was a vaccine for stupidity, they wouldn’t take it.
Follow DJ Dunson on Twitter: @cerebralsportex