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Report: NBA Informs Teams It Will Penalize Players Who Don't Follow Mask Rules

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2021

The court floor and league logo are shown after Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference final between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The NBA reportedly has informed teams that on Friday it will begin implementing its "program of enhanced enforcement of face mask rules during games and will impose penalties on player or staff members who fail to comply," according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

The report comes after Monday's game between the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets was postponed because of contact tracing within the Pistons organization. It was the 23rd game the NBA has postponed this season. 

Per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the NBA will require players to wear KN95 or KF94 masks "in all instances where required." That includes when players are sitting on the bench. 

Players have been allowed to sit in a "cooldown" area away from the bench after they exit games but are technically required to return to the bench and don masks once that cooldown period concludes.

Other efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 among players, coaches and staff have included "preventing players from having guests in their hotel rooms on the road, as well as limiting interactions between them on the court before and after games," per Bontemps. 

After implementing stricter protocols, the NBA announced last Wednesday that its latest round of COVID-19 testing beginning Jan. 20 registered just one new positive case out of 492 tests. 

Last week the NBA began the process of rescheduling its previously postponed games, saying it was going to "focus on the teams with the most postponed games to date," with the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies each having six games postponed thus far.      

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