NBA Proposes Strict COVID-19 Rules for Unvaccinated Players Ahead of 2021-22 Season

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 2, 2021

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at the start of the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
AP Photo/Corey Sipkin

The NBA sent a memo to teams Thursday detailing several proposals for players who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of ESPN obtained the memo, which says unvaccinated players will have lockers "as far away as possible" from vaccinated teammates and will be separated from their teammates during team meals and on flights/team buses.

Unvaccinated players will also be subject to daily testing and may sometimes be tested twice on game days. They will also have to report any close contacts with a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 and will be subject to quarantine.

Vaccinated players will not undergo daily testing or have to report close contacts. 

The restrictions are currently being discussed with the National Basketball Players Association. 

NBA coaches, staff members and arena staff who will be within 15 feet of players are required to be vaccinated. The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association also reached an agreement for all game officials to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. While there has been an increase in breakthrough cases due to the delta variant, vaccinated people are four times less likely to contract COVID and 14 times less likely to be hospitalized.

More than half of companies in the United States say they plan to require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Several major corporations have already announced vaccine mandates for employees.

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports that 90 percent of NBA players are vaccinated. While that means these restrictions will only apply to a small number of players, it does mean those who refuse to be vaccinated risk getting sick, missing time and alienating themselves from the rest of their teammates.

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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