- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2021

Charles Barkley said officials should prioritize wealthy pro athletes when it comes to distributing the COVID-19 vaccine as a reward for paying higher taxes.

The NBA legend, never one to shy away from controversy, made the comments Thursday while flanked by his “Inside the NBA” co-hosts.

“We need 300 million shots, give a thousand to some NBA players, NFL players, hockey players. As much taxes as these players pay — let me repeat that. As much taxes as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment,” he said.

The comments come as lawmakers and officials grapple with how best to inoculate roughly 330 million Americans.

Harald Schmidt, an ethics and health policy expert from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, recently made headlines after telling The New York Times that older White people should wait longer precisely because of their social status.

“Older populations are whiter,” Mr. Schmidt told the newspaper last month. “Society is structured in a way that enables them to live longer. Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.”

Mr. Barkley‘s take, however, did not sit well with co-host Kenny Smith.

“We can’t go there,” Mr. Smith said. “I don’t think you can go there.”

Johns Hopkins University estimates that nearly 390,000 Americans have died since the virus first spread from China early last year.

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