Chicago Football Team Defines ‘Selfish’

  • Chicago Tribune: Uproar over Bears receiving flu shots. Though the Bears’ official stance is that all matters of medication and treatment are private, a team official said only those players who might be at risk with “asthma-type conditions” received the vaccine. The rest of the vaccine, he said, was returned to the distributor. But Bears players indicated all of them were given the option of receiving a shot. Less than half of the roughly 60 players received one, which is typical. Some declined on moral grounds.

  • Here’s the Bears’ official denial, couched as a news story on the team’s website.


    Posted by: on October 23, 2004 10:26 PM

    Outrageous fallout of the desperate campaign of John Kerry, who is demagoguing the flu vaccine in a last minute gambit to rescue his losing Presidential campaign.

    Under Kerry’s medical insurance proposals, the government will become the “single reinsurer” of critical care, remaking *EVERY* life and death aspect of health care into a public policy issue, with politicians climbing over one another making medical decisions that should take place between patient and doctor.

    Consider his flu shot demagoguery a taste of what’s to come, if the American people commit the foolhearty hari kari of pulling the lever for the Dr. Kervorkian candidate of health care policy suicide.

    Posted by: on October 24, 2004 12:42 AM

    Wow query — you seem to have a laughable, if not sad, pathological problem of contorting every single news item, no matter how unrelated, into some kind of anti-Kerry flame. Get a life, dude.

    Posted by: dieKrahe on October 24, 2004 01:29 AM

    The Chicago Bears debunked this story run on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. ‘those players who might be at risk with “asthma-type conditions” received the vaccine.’ resulted in only 2 players receiving the flu shot. According to the Chicago Bears Website, all other players who asked if they should get the flu shot were told No. Granted, they can just be trying to cover their butts on this, but I don’t see them being that selfish, especially with it being an extreme national shortage.

    Here is the address for the Chicago Bears response to the report:
    Just my two cents,

    Posted by: adamsj on October 24, 2004 04:37 AM

    Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the behavior of BearCorp, isn’t it pleasant to hear that several Bears players declined getting shots “on moral grounds”?

    Now, if only people could learn to decline _taking_ shorts on moral grounds.

    Posted by: on October 24, 2004 06:10 AM

    It is medically responsible behavior that people with respiratory problems receive the vaccine. With intense travel, inability to limit exposure to large sets of people, and physical stress, it would not be unreasonable for all these players to get a vaccine shot.
    I submit we are too hasty to criticize.

    Posted by: Dan Gillmor on October 24, 2004 07:28 AM

    Please don’t feed the troll.

    Posted by: on October 24, 2004 08:32 AM

    You want to know what selfish is, Dan? Selfish is the millions of retired geriatrics in this country not only using up the limited vaccine when younger people have families that rely on a healthy wage-earner, but demanding that those same at-risk earners pay for the shot via Medicare.

    I have to go out into the workplace five days a week and be exposed to the gamut of hackers, coughers, and wheezers (many of whom pride themselves on how long it’s been since they last took a sick day, but that’s a rant for another time). If I get the flu I can’t work. If I can’t work, I don’t get paid. If I don’t get paid, I don’t get the medicines I need to hold off the conditions that threaten _my_ life. But because I’m only 35 and my health problems aren’t respiratory, I’m not “at risk” so no shot for Jimmy-me-lad.

    The resentment is particularly strong when coupled with the realization that the precious Free Market has failed again. The inability to manufacture one’s own medicines is an indicator of Third-World status. We rely on foreign manufacturers because it’s not profitable to make flu vaccine here. Why the hell is something so vital as flu vaccine (or anti-tetanus a few years ago) subject to the vagaries of the market? Why the hell doesn’t the government (a/ka/a, my tax dollar) subsidize the manufacture of flu vaccine in in-country laboratories that can be inspected to ensure that its policies and procedures make a safe product?

    By the way, if I die from the flu this year, I’ll miss you guys. Maybe you can put “Wasn’t Selfish” on my headstone.

    Posted by: adamsj on October 24, 2004 01:54 PM


    I’m with you on the failure of the market system to provide flu shots in sufficient numbers. (I’ve seen comment in the mainstream press on the actual motivation of corporations in providing shots to employees–more work, fewer sick days–though no one has commented on the obvious corollary of no shots for contract labor, i.e. Johnnie.) It’s yet another clear failure of the market system.

    By the same token, I don’t regard your ability–or mine, for that matter–to make money as being as important as the ability of an oldster to keep from dying. I sympathize with your medical problems, and deplore the fact that you can’t pay to stay healthy unless you, well, stay healthy. That’s another failure of the market system, and I don’t blame it on the old folks.

    Posted by: on October 24, 2004 07:18 PM


    I don’t blame the situation on the old-timers; I hope to be one someday. I am angered by the fact that pretty much every single person in the country has the right to use the excuse “I’m at risk because I have to go among other people, some of whom are undoubtedly going to be contagious carriers of some illness or other” yet that carries no weight.

    What I -do- resent, though, is that the “triage” isn’t really being done fairly. Anyone who is old automatically can have a shot if he wants it, whether he has a significant risk of being among sick folks or not. Younger people like me aren’t really being asked whether our risk of contracting the flu is high, just whether we’ve got a respiratory deficiency.

    Oh, well. That’s life as long as my generation doesn’t vote.

    Posted by: adamsj on October 25, 2004 04:16 AM

    Hi, Jim,

    You’ve got a point about triage, but I think you aren’t seeing the other end of it–that older folks, regardless of their likelihood t
    o be exposed, are much more vulnerable to dying from the flu than younger folks like me. My thought is that, given what you say about your health, your GP should be able to get you a shot. That’s also proper triage, and there’s a failure.

    My mom is 87, and has her shot. My dad is 85, and is still waiting for the VA to get him his. My daughter is 16 months old, and we’ve yet to get her shot. Neither my wife nor I have gotten shots, even though we’re around those two very vulnerable individuals. My father has medical history that concerns me–malaria, pneumonia, emphysema–and if the flu does what WWII couldn’t, I’ll be angry.

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