Editorial | Politicians need to prioritize public health over the money that sports bring in


Marc A. Hermann / MTA, via Wikimedia Commons

New York Mets mascots Mrs. Met, left, and Mr. Met hand out masks to passerbys outside of a subway station last April.

It seems like life is back to normal in many major cities such as New York — even for the unvaccinated.

New York City mayor Eric Adams relaxed the vaccine mandate for performers and athletes, meaning that unvaccinated players such as Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets and a few Mets players can begin to play at home games again. This announcement comes after a lobbying group for the Nets as well as Mets owner Steve Cohen donated $1.5 million to a political action committee to support Adams in the primary last year.

While New York City’s COVID-19 case counts have begun to decrease the past several months, there is still a large number of people contracting and spreading the virus. It’s unfair that public officials are willing to risk public safety when money is involved. It seems like sports are exceptions to the rules because of the massive amounts of money they generate. Politicians shouldn’t prioritize financial gain over human life.

The Brooklyn Nets bring in more than $212 million in revenue and the Mets make $153 million. The sports industry alone is worth $80.5 billion as of 2022, a truly exorbitant number. This helps boost New York’s economy, especially since the city felt the hurt from the loss of sports when the pandemic began. As soon as they were able, professional sports teams began to push for sports to start back up again with spectators, despite some scientists saying it was unsafe.

Public officials and politicians want the economy to do well because it makes them look good. However, when these politicians prioritize financial gains over human life and public safety, it’s extremely unfair. Politicians should prioritize the health of the immunocompromised and urge the more than 23.5% of Americans who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated.

It seems completely biased to treat sports as the exception to the rule. Because of their large influence on the world at large, they should be using it for good, urging players to get vaccinated — which urges their fans to as well.

Additionally, money should not influence politics. Lobbying already has such a large impact on our politics, with more than $3.73 billion spent annually on it. In order to have an equal democracy, sports and other large industries should not be able to change laws to be in their favor, and politicians shouldn’t be easily influenced by money.

It’s the duty of every citizen to get vaccinated and keep each other safe — athletes are not the exception. In order to eradicate this pandemic that has been ravaging our lives for more than two years, everyone needs to be compliant and public health needs to be prioritized over everything, even money.