When Dennis Schröder missed four games in February for contact tracing as part of the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, he criticized the league’s practices, saying they “have to do better” while adding that “we don’t want it to happen again.”
It did happen again, though, as Schröder missed the last seven Lakers games under the league’s intentionally vague “health and safety protocols” designation, an absence that drew even more scrutiny not just because it was his second time missing games, but also because of an interview in which he expressed vaccine hesitancy to a German news outlet.
After his return to the court in the team’s Saturday win against the Pacers, Schröder said “felt good” in his first basketball game in more than a week.
“I’ve been doing some stuff at home a little bit. I’ve been feeling great,” Schröder said. “No issues.”
Those looking for more clarity on why Schröder missed time again, however, don’t appear like they’re going to get it. In an increasingly terse exchange with the media following the game, Schröder said he did not get vaccinated, did not have COVID-19 while he was out, but also said he cannot miss time again.
Confused? You’re not alone, but here is the full transcript of his remarks:
Reporter: Earlier this season when you went into quarantine due to contact tracing, you expressed your disappointment and basically I think you vowed to not have that happen again. What was it like for you to have it happen again and see what the team went through while you were out?
Schröder: “I mean at least I can’t get it no more in the playoffs. That’s probably the best thing. Me and my family was talking about it the whole time, we didn’t know, it was like ‘I’m not sure.’ End of the day, I mean, it is what it is. I’m back now and can’t wait for tomorrow and the playoffs, play-in, whatever.”
Reporter: Dennis, just to clarify, you did have COVID, correct?
Schröder: “What’s that?”
Reporter: You did have COVID? You tested positive?
Schröder: “No, I didn’t test positive. I went to separate things to get tested, but I mean, it is what it is, like I said. I’m the only guy who didn’t get vaccinated, so I’m gonna just leave it at that.”
Reporter: I’m sorry, maybe this is on my end and I’m just not understanding, but you said you can’t get it..
Schröder: “Next question. Maybe, then, fuck, what you want me to say? Next question. Simple. God damn.”
I guess maybe my question is moot, you didn’t suffer any physically symptoms or suffer any setbacks in that way with your health?
Schröder: “No, I was fine. Family was fine, my friends and my house was fine. Everybody was healthy and it was good.”
What were you able to do? How did you spend the last two weeks?
Schröder: “I had a lot of time with my family. Shooting in my backyard. That’s it.”
And here is video:
Here is the full exchange between Lakers beat writers, including myself, and a rather exasperated Dennis Schröder about his return from Covid-19 protocols. pic.twitter.com/GMYvDRtknu— Bill Oram (@billoram) May 15, 2021
We’ll see if we get any more clarity on this at any point, but for now, Schröder’s future status and possibility to end up in quarantine again appears very much up in the air.
For more of the latest information on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, please check out the work of my colleagues at Vox.com.