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Gordon Monson: Et tu, John Stockton? A Utah Jazz icon veers off course with an anti-vax video that is idiotic, harmful

The intensely private hall-of-famer never wanted to reveal his inner thoughts. Maybe this is why.

(Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo) As the Utah Jazz celebrate the 1997 Utah Jazz team John Stockton, Jerry Sloan and Gail Miller walk into a press conference at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City Wednesday March 22, 2017.

Saying that it’s no surprise that John Stockton would appear in a docu-video calling into question the authenticity of COVID-19 and the vaccine meant to fight it and limit its spread would be … well, a lie.

Stockton was always quirky, difficult to talk with, let alone interview, and I saw him treat regular people, fans who adored him, not just gruffly and with disrespect, but cruelly. There were more than a few occasions when he was anything but a nice guy.

He was a great basketball player.

But off the court he could be an …

Assuming wholly that he would assail and assault and assassinate what leading doctors and scientists have said and assess and assign it as nonsense and assert that the assorted info he’s assembled and assimilated is somehow superior and that he knows better and should assuage fears about a disease that has devastated the lives of millions of people is an assumption I wouldn’t have associated him with.

Turns out that he is the NBA’s all-time ass-ist leader fits perfectly.

I, like many others, have seen on social media the trailer of Stockton saying that it’s not the virus that has paralyzed the country and the world, it’s the meanies at the top of the power structure who have brainwashed not just us, but our children into believing something that is untrue and frustrating, by way of his own vast research.

Et tu, John?

This is a perfect example of an individual, glorified to the point of having a major thoroughfare in Salt Lake City named after him and having a statue erected in front of Vivint Arena for being able to pass and shoot a basketball, a man who was very good at what he did as an athlete, speaking out against what experts who have spent their entire careers studying infectious pandemics and their horrible effects have pronounced.

There will be people who will listen to and believe what he says.

And that’s a shame.

He, like every other American, should be fully free to express his opinion. He will, they will.

But because he was so proficient at bouncing that ball, he will hold sway in a way that others who express their opinions will not.

On the other hand, based on the aggressive reception of and vigorous reaction to his thoughts, there is a toll being extracted for him expressing that opinion, namely, the sullying of his reputation and high-standing in this community and across the basketball world.

It’s one thing to express an opinion, it’s another to express an opinion that could even in a small dose adversely affect the effort to harness and control COVID, a sickness that has afflicted and caused the deaths of so many.

Pity.

It was Abe Lincoln who said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” I know all about that saying’s application, having had it aimed in my direction at times, too. But Abe was rarely more right than in Stockton’s case, the irony being that Stockton in the vast majority of instances has stayed silent. He never wanted to reveal his inner thoughts, and maybe this is why.

He seemed to love what he did for a living, but hated the public nature of it.

For a Hall of Fame basketball player to remove the doubt, though, is difficult for those who have respected him through the years for his professionalism and achievements on the court. Imagine the reaction of longtime Jazz fans who cheered for and loved Stockton but who also lost loved ones to COVID, the dreaded disease?

As it is, Stockton selected a poor time and circumstance to speak out.

His anti-vaccination stance is no friend of a country trying to heal, no friend to the experts — whose research has far exceeded Stockton’s — doing what they can to get the good word out.

GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 2-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.

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