A basketball star who agreed a new two-year deal just two months ago has had his contract terminated because he refused to take a Covid vaccine – following his brother, who made claims about the Pfizer jab, out of the door.
The New Zealand Breakers announced that “extraordinary times” had led to the release of Tai Webster, a 26-year-old guard who shared messages of support after his deal was axed over his reluctance to be jabbed.
Defiant Webster had found his playing time limited because he could not travel freely under restrictions imposed by state governments.
“I fully support each player’s freedom of choice in regards to the vaccine,” said Breakers owner Matt Walsh.
“Tai was amazing for us last year and we wish him the absolute best. The club will keep the door open for Tai but, unfortunately, we are living in extraordinary times and, without being vaccinated, he will not have freedom of travel which would allow him to play for us this season.”
Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) has not mandated vaccinations for its players.
Last month, the 26-year-old’s brother, Corey, who is also a professional basketball player, falsely claimed on social media that the Pfizer vaccine has killed almost as many people as covid itself.
That also led to his exit from the Breakers despite his contract having two years left to run.
“If I’m betting on myself, I completely double down,” Tai said on Twitter, before asking: “So how unemployed have you got to be, exactly, to go on the benefit? Asking for me.”
One of the posts he shared described the siblings as “no sheep – only wolves”, while another said: “Take note: he’s leading by example.”
“People can’t even ask questions or want more info about what they put in their body without being attacked. Soon it’s just going to be a war of the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated.”
Before playing at the University of Nebraska from 2013 and 2017, Tai was an NBL champion in New Zealand and Australia with the Auckland Pirates and the Breakers in 2012 and 2013.