NBA players will not be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to play the upcoming season per ESPN sources.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) are negotiating terms for this season’s COVID health and safety protocols, but a vaccine mandate for players was a “non-starter,” per ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski.
NEWS: There are vaccine mandates for NBA referees and for most team staff this season, but there won't be one for players, league sources tell @wojespn and me. Story: https://t.co/n7ivUZ8zzd
— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) September 14, 2021
According to an NBA spokesperson, approximately 85 percent of players are vaccinated.
The league already has protocols for non-vaccinated players that would keep them as far as possible from vaccinated teammates in the locker room while eating, riding the bus, or flying.
Unvaccinated players would be required to undergo testing on game and practice days and could be tested twice on some game days.
They would also be subjected to quarantine if they came in contact with someone who tested positive.
Unlike players, some NBA personnel, those working within 15 feet of players, and all game officials will be required to be vaccinated by October 1.
Also, teams in New York and San Francisco will be required to follow those cities’ vaccination requirements unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the NBA has stretched, bent, and redesigned league play to maintain and finish the last two NBA seasons.
Availability of a vaccine prompted hopes that the league and life, in general, would “get back to normal” for the 2021-22 season, but misinformation and mistrust have led to only 179 million or 54.5 percent of the US population being vaccinated so far.
Several players tested positive for COVID-19 last season with some missing significant time and or suffering lingering symptoms once they returned.
Former NBA player Cedric Ceballos who was in isolation ICU last week reported he was COVID-free but is still suffering from COVID-related issues and tweeted that he still can’t “breathe, walk or function” on his own yet.
The 2021-22season starts October 19.