May 30, 2016, 6:09 am
Paul Gasol is considering skipping the Olympics because of concerns about the Zika virus.
Talles Azoni of the AP reports that Gasol is worried about the uncertainty of the situation and thinks that athletes planning on going to the Games in Brazil should seriously weigh the risks involved.
Gasol said he’s spoken to other athletes with similar concerns, going on to say “some of these athletes are planning to have children in the near future and this could affect them, it could affect the health of their kids and their wives. Their health should come first.”
Ultimately, Gasol wants more information on the disease and its pervasiveness in Brazil. It’s a fair stance to take, as many have called for the Games to be postponed or moved to a country where the virus won’t be as big of an issue.
“I feel responsible to know more about the situation and to inform everyone about it,” said the two time silver medalist.
“It’s important to talk openly about this. It’s a very delicate situation.”
Gasol is more than justified in his worrying. The long term repercussions of contracting the Zika virus are both dangerous and still not fully understood, though the disease has already been linked to neurological damage in adults and severe birth defects in infants.
Gasol, one of Spain’s most famous Olympians, has done well to use his platform to advocate caution before the Games. He’s right to say that anyone planning on attending should look for as much information as possible.
It’s not a good look for Brazil or the IOC, as the 2016 Olympics have been full of controversy before they’ve even started.