NBA Announces Players Won't Be Paid for Missing Games over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Adam WellsSeptember 29, 2021

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins poses for photos during the NBA basketball team's media day in San Francisco, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

As the NBA and National Basketball Players Association continue to negotiate health and safety protocols for the 2021-22 season, the league appears to have decided how to handle unvaccinated players who miss games in cities with a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass announced Wednesday that "any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses."

With training camps starting around the league on Tuesday, COVID-19 vaccines have been a major talking point. 

Government officials in New York City and San Francisco have mandated everyone over the age of 12 must show proof of having received at least one vaccine dose to attend certain large public venues or large-scale indoor events. 

The Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are the NBA teams most directly impacted by those vaccine mandates. 

Knicks general manager Scott Perry announced last week the entire organization, including players, coaches and staff, is fully vaccinated. 

Kyrie Irving of the Nets was unable to attend the team's media day on Monday due to health and safety protocols. In a Zoom call with reporters, he didn't confirm or deny if he has been vaccinated. 

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins had his request for a religious exemption from the vaccine denied by the NBA. The 26-year-old said in March he wouldn't get vaccinated unless forced to. 

Per Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, there is "increasing concern" within the Warriors organization about Wiggins' availability for this season because of his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported last week that 90 percent of all NBA players are fully vaccinated, with the rate "rising as training camps" are set to open. 

The 2021-22 season is scheduled to begin on Oct. 19 with a doubleheader featuring the Nets playing the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum and the Warriors traveling to the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Lakers.