Recently it was reported that NBA players would not have to be mandated to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Players are the only ones to be exempt from mandatory vaccines thanks to their union, as ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski reported this yesterday.
Executive Director of the NBPA, Michele Roberts, told ESPN that a proposal for players to get the vaccine was a ‘non-starter’.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that unvaccinated players in big markets like New York City and San Francisco would not be permitted to play or practice in home arenas in these big markets, unless medically or religiously exempt. It was already reported last month that team personnel around players—including referees—must be vaccinated no later than the date of their teams' respective first preseason home game.
As this league tends to do, the players are the only ones exempt from following a certain protocol thanks to the union that has their back. Many of the other employees around the NBA do not have unions, so they must abide by what is ruled from the league office.
That begs the question: which players in the big market teams will be under scrutiny from the media and fans if they were suddenly listed as out and not allowed to play during their home games. On the Jalen & Jacoby podcast recently, Jalen Rose raised this issue and said this would be a major issue in the NBA to start the season.
Just like what is going on in America today, the continuous debate of mandated vaccines and the right of it wages on. This has increasingly been a touchy subject and has become a political topic as most things tend to be.
Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets recently tweeted about having his mask off, and telling others to not be scared and do the same.
This tweet came right as the NBA announced they would not force players to get vaccinated, and not surprisingly caused an uproar on the internet. Soon after, Irving felt the need to provide more context.
Charania has previously listed the teams in New York and San Francisco as the only ones not allowing players to play or practice in home arenas, but don’t be surprised if that trickles down to Los Angeles. LA County is planning to require proof of vaccinations for indoor bars, breweries, wineries, nightclubs, and lounges, with at least one dose by October 7 and full vaccination by November 4. If any player on the Lakers has to sit out because of their refusal to get vaccinated, it would definitely be a big story and a headache for the NBA to deal with.