As we get closer to the 2021-22 NBA season, the league is taking certain precautions to best combat the present threat of COVID-19. The league already announced that all referees will be required to be vaccinated, in addition to team and arena personnel that interact with players, like coaches, front office executives all the way down to locker room attendants in each arena.
While there has been no widespread requirement for players to be vaccinated heading into the upcoming season, there will reportedly be certain teams that will make it a requirement in accordance with local guidelines, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Players who compete for the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors will be required to be vaccinated, as those two cities — New York City and San Francisco — have passed vaccination requirements for indoor activities, which include professional sports arenas.
The vaccination mandate reportedly does not apply to visiting teams, but any unvaccinated player on any of those three teams will not be allowed to play in home games unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption, per Charania.
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This is a significant move made by these three teams, as the NBA embarks on another season playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. If other cities with NBA teams pass similar mandates, then it’s possible that more players could be required to get vaccinated if they aren’t already. Back in July, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said that 90 percent of the league’s players are vaccinated.
If that’s the case, then this mandate may not be that big of a deal if all the players on those three teams are already vaccinated. However, if there are players that aren’t, then it could cause some tension if players refuse to get vaccinated and, as a result, aren’t able to play.