NBA's Updated COVID-19 Guidelines Outline Rules for Vaccinated, Unvaccinated Players

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 28, 2021

The NBA logo at center court is shown during the second half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The NBA has released its 65-page health-and-safety protocols for the 2021-22 season, and they include restrictions on players who are not fully vaccinated.

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic provided more information Tuesday:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

NBA's 65-page health and safety protocols for ‘21-22 include restrictions on non-fully-vaccinated players, such as: <br><br>No dining indoors in same room as other player, 6 feet of distance in team meeting, distant locker, remain at residence or hotel, prohibited from public venues.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps added more information:

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

In reading through the NBA's Health and Safety Protocols, it is clear that unvaccinated players are going to be living under basically the exact same rules as last year, including daily testing. Vaccinated players, meanwhile, will have far more freedom to live their lives.

Bontemps added: "And, in some ways, it is even more restrictive than last season for unvaccinated players – including non-fully vaccinated players having to have their locker 'as distant from other players as possible.'"

Per a statement from NBPA executive Michele Roberts, over 90 percent of NBA players are fully vaccinated.

The protocols report comes amid some NBA players saying that they are not vaccinated, including Washington Wizards All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who said he still considering getting the vaccine:

Hoop District @Hoop_District

Bradley Beal clarifies his opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine<br><br>"I'm still considering getting the vaccine. ... I'm not sitting up here advocating or campaigning that 'no, you should not get that vaccine!' I'm not doing that. ... It is a personal decision between every individual." <a href="https://t.co/M7x3W1Po9T">pic.twitter.com/M7x3W1Po9T</a>

Other players refused to disclose their vaccination status, including Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed his team's media day in person because of New York City's proof-of-vaccination requirement.

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins applied for a religious exemption to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine, but the NBA denied the request.

He is in line to miss home games for the Golden State Warriors at San Francisco's Chase Center because of the San Francisco Department of Public Health's requirement for proof of vaccination for large indoor events.

Irving would also miss games in New York because of a similar requirement.

The NBA regular season is scheduled to begin on Oct. 19 with a doubleheader when the Nets visit the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. The Warriors will play the host Los Angeles Lakers in the nightcap.