Michael Porter Jr. will not face any consequences from the Denver Nuggets following comments he made on Tuesday regarding COVID-19. The former lottery pick participated in a Q&A on Snapchat, and was asked about his thoughts regarding the coronavirus and the subsequent reaction to what has become a global pandemic and killed over 661,000 people. The third-year player said that the reaction to the virus has been "overblown" and went on about how it is being used to control people.
In response, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone said Wednesday afternoon that he's not going to stop his players from speaking their minds, but that he will try to educate them.
"I know that Tim Connelly and our front office have talked to Michael about his comments last night and this morning, long before I realized what was said," Malone said to reporters during a Zoom conference. "So it has been talked to him. He understands the situation, but we as an organization are not going to put a muzzle on anybody. If somebody has a strong belief on something, they have the platform and freedom to use that. We'll just try to educate guys so they understand the impact of what they may be saying."
Malone, who said he found out about Porter's comments this morning on the bus ride over to the practice facility, said that Porter's comments have not been a distraction for his team today.
"It's not a distraction for me," Malone said. "Obviously, I'm not the thought police. I'm not going to tell any of our players what they can and can't say. All I would say is that just be sensitive to the current situation in our country and throughout the world in regards to coronavirus. But, Michael Porter and any other player on our roster, they're entitled to their opinions, they're entitled to their ability to have free speech and I will respect that as long as it doesn't become a distraction. What Michael stated, being around our players this morning, at breakfast, in practice, has not become a distraction at all."
Porter's full comments on COVID-19 were:
"Personally I think the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda, it's being used for population control in terms of being able to control the masses of people," Porter said. "I mean because of this virus the whole world is being controlled, you're required to wear masks, and who knows what will happen when this vaccine comes out. You might have to have the vaccine in order to travel, like that'd be crazy. I've never been vaccinated in my life, I've never had any shots or anything like that so it could get crazy. But, it's definitely an agenda behind everything that's going on right now and all you can do is sit back and watch what's going on and don't get too emotionally involved. But it is a serious thing, it is a real thing but it's being overblown."
While the Nuggets aren't going to reprimand Porter, it isn't exactly ideal for him to be saying that COVID-19 is "overblown" while the league has gone to great lengths to ensure players' safety to finish out the remainder of the season inside a bubble to keep the virus out. It also contradicts the message that the league and many teams have been sending in trying to encourage people to wear masks and practice social distancing.