Report: Season-High 36 Percent of NBA Referees in COVID-19 Protocols

Erin WalshDecember 30, 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 28: Referee Ed Malloy #14 reacts during the second half between the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards at FTX Arena on December 28, 2021 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

NBA players and coaches aren't the only ones around the league being impacted by COVID-19. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, 36 percent of the NBA's referees are in COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The league is promoting NBA G League referees to fill in where needed, Wojnarowski adds. 

The G League season has been paused until Wednesday so referees and players can be available for the NBA, per Wojnarowski. In addition, the NBA and National Basketball Referees Association are negotiating travel improvements to reduce officials' exposure to COVID-19, Wojnarowski reports. 

NBA referees are required to be fully vaccinated and must receive the booster shot by Wednesday. 

In addition to referees, many NBA coaches are in COVID-19 protocols, including the Denver Nuggets' Michael Malone, Philadelphia 76ers' Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Lakers' Frank Vogel, Phoenix Suns' Monty Williams, Chicago Bulls' Billy Donovan, Portland Trail Blazers' Chauncey Billups and Oklahoma City Thunder's Mark Daigneault. 

An excessive amount of players are also in protocols, including the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum, Chicago Bulls' Lonzo Ball, Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic and Golden State Warriors' James Wiseman.

Before Christmas, the NBA and NBA Players Association agreed to new COVID-19 protocols through Jan. 8, including daily testing and increased mask wearing. 

The NBA also recently altered it's protocols for isolation after a player tests positive for COVID-19. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, players must now isolate for just six days and meet testing requirements, or register two negative tests, before returning.