Allegan County News & Union Enterprise Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes LaFayette Sun Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record Three Rivers Commercial-News, Penny Saver, & Sturgis Sentinel

Mike’s Musings: Banning Djokovic makes no sense

I play a lot of tennis, and Novak Djokovic, the best in the game, and maybe the G.O.A.T, is a hero of mine. Like Jordan in basketball or Brady in football, Djokovic has dominated men’s tennis for a decade and has helped immensely to popularize the sport.
Because he refuses to take a vaccine for COVID, however, he is denied entry in to the United States, therefore tennis fans at the U.S. Open and other American tournaments are unable to watch tennis’s best in person or on television. And to this writer and fan that is an injustice.
In case our government hasn’t notice this is March 2023. Very few organizations require COVID vaccinations anymore. But due to an outdated edict that requires all foreign travelers to be vaccinated- with the exception of course of those who enter our southern border illegally, Djokovic, of Serbian citizenship, is banned from entering the United States.
With all the hoopla surrounding the effectiveness of COVID vaccines this is a travesty. Heck even Australia, which had the same ban in effect, lifted it several months ago. Djokovic in 2022, was unceremoniously deported from Sydney in 2022, was allowed in earlier this year, and promptly won the first leg of tennis’s Grand Slam.
He was hoping to get granted special permission to play in the United States earlier this month. He said he had submitted the required documentation, but was denied by Homeland Security.
Florida U.S. Rick Scott asked President Biden to intervene. So far there has been no response.
U.S. Travel Association President Geoff Freeman, among a host of tennis elites, said, “America’s outdated vaccine policy for international visitors is an unforced error that is contributing to an $80 billion loss in foreign travel spending…It is well past time for the United States to join its peers in Europe, Australia and elsewhere and remove pandemic vaccine requirements for our inbound travelers.”
Outspoken tennis great John McEnroe added, “It’s absurd they threw him out of Australia last year…He played in the U.S. Open in 2021 and then wasn’t allowed to play in 2022, someone explain that to me. And now he’s still not permitted to play, I mean it’s absurd.”
Of course, Djokovic could get the vaccine and entry would not be a problem. But then that would be compromising his principles, and you have to admire a guy, for not allowing that to happen. He doesn’t believe that COVID vaccines are effective, and that their side effects might be dangerous to his health. So, despite being detrimental to his career, he has steadfastly refused to take the vaccine.
And governments across the world refused entry in the early days of COVID to anyone unvaccinated. But now, three years later, when the COVID pandemic has been declared over, the U.S. steadfastly continues with their travel ban, and apparently a big name like Djokovic, is no exception.
End this silly policy, Biden. All your peers have already done so. COVID is no longer a threat. We deserve to see Djokovic compete in America. We deserve to have that $80 billion in tourist dollars spent here.

Leave a Reply