Can players who have not been vaccinated play in the NBA?

Vaccination and health protocols to control COVID-19 remain a crucial issue for the 2021-22 NBA season, no matter how much the League has recovered a good part of the normality lost in the second half of 2019-20 and during the past year, 2020-21. The United States is still far from overcoming the trance of the pandemic, and the death toll in the country already exceeds 700,000 confirmed and directly linked to COVID. Meanwhile, the refusal of too high a percentage of the population to be vaccinated has slowed down the fight against the virus just when the availability of vaccines began to be optimal. In the NBA they opened with training camp for the preseason with 90% of players vaccinated, which left about 60-70 without doing it. That is, about two per franchise. Very dangerous. As the training days have progressed, that figure has already reached 96%.

Unvaccinated players are not prohibited from playing per NBA regulations. In addition, the League could not make vaccination mandatory among the players because it was found with the refusal of the NBPA, the Union. Other estates (office staff arbitrators …) did have to be vaccinated to continue carrying out their work performance. But beyond the internal rules of the NBA, are the sanitary rules of the cities where their teams are located. And in three of them the unvaccinated players will not be able to be in the games of their franchises at home, when they play on their court. They are San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. This has created some tremendous problems with, for example, Andrew Wiggins on the Warriors (he ended up getting vaccinated). And the most mediatic case: a Kyrie Irving away from the Brooklyn Nets, the great favorite to the ring, until he agrees to be vaccinated.

What the NBA has made clear is that the unvaccinated who miss matches related to the teams of these three cities (Knicks, Nets, Warriors, Lakers, Clippers) They will not charge the proportional part of those encounters. Yes the rest of their wages. Knicks, Lakers and Clippers already announced that they had reached 100% vaccination in their ranks. For Kyrie Irving, for example, this measure can mean losses of up to $ 17 million, with about $ 380,000 going into limbo per game. In the regular season the Nets have 41 as a home team and two more in their market, New York, in visits to the Knicks.

In addition, since they are not officially signed with the agreement of the players’ union, they also there will be much tougher protocols that will remember the very difficult last season for the unvaccinated. Those who have received the vaccine will live exempt from many of the rules that they have had to strictly follow in the last season and a half. Those not vaccinated, on the other hand, will continue to have to undergo controls, they will have longer quarantines in case of risky contact, they will always have to wear masks and be two meters from any other person in meetings and talks, they will eat in separate places, they will have their locker room lockers set aside … and they will be obliged to stay at home when they are in their city or at the hotel when the team is playing as a visitor, without visiting places of leisure considered risky (restaurants, bars …) and with a few exceptions: shopping, taking the children to school …


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