NBA Using Local Guidelines to Take Strong Stance on Vaccinated Players

Unvaccinated players in cities with strict local requirements about indoor gatherings will not play in games

Closeup of the NBA logo on court before a playoff game. Unvaccinated players now face additional hurdles in certain cities if they want to play (including not being able to play in certain arenas)
Closeup of the NBA logo on court before a playoff game.
David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty

Although the NBA cannot force its players to get vaccinated as part of its collective bargaining agreement with the union, the league, like the NFL, appears to be doing everything in its power to encourage its athletes to get the jab in order to ensure the upcoming season can be played as seamlessly as possible.

With 90% of players already vaccinated (according to players’ union executive director Michele Roberts), the NBA is hoping to attempt to push the remaining 10% to get the shot by instituting a policy that will not allow unvaccinated players to enter the building, practice or play in games in cities with strict local requirements, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Interestingly, the policy would apply to the home team, but not the visiting team.

Perhaps the new regulation will encourage the league’s unvaccinated players, believed to be around 40 or so, to get the shot.

“Your health is your business. And there are some things that obviously, in sports, you have to disclose, but something like you know, vaccination or anything else is pretty much your business,” Roberts previously told Yahoo Sports. “And so I was aware of people, I had individual conversations with players who were rabidly opposed to a vaccination, who I know got vaccinated, ultimately … And then I’m told that there were team meetings, player only, where they internally discuss their concerns. And so some of the decisions that were made over the player’s personal objection, but he thought it was in the best interest of the team.”

Given the NBA’s new policy, getting vaxxed will be an even more important part of being a team player.

While that will be a big change, at least compared to last season when the vaccine was not available at the start of the campaign, some things will return to normalcy, at least to some degree.

Training camp begins on September 28 and the NBA season tips off on October 19. Whether fans will have to wear masks indoors and take other precautions will be up to local jurisdictions, but it’s probably best to assume that somewhat strict health and safety regulations will be in place in most cities when the season begins.

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