NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets do not anticipate local COVID-19 vaccination requirements “being any sort of hindrance to us,” general manager Sean Marks said on Tuesday. In New York City, proof of vaccination has been required for indoor fitness and indoor entertainment since mid-August, which means that, in the absence of a medical or religious exemption, every Nets player must have had at least one vaccine dose to enter their practice facility or arena.
Every NBA team will open training camp next week. If Brooklyn were beginning team activities today, Marks said, “there would obviously be a couple of people missing from that picture.” He expects, however, that the holdouts will be vaccinated (or receive an exemption) shortly.
“I won’t get into who it is,” Marks said. “But we feel confident that, in the following several days before camp, everybody will be allowed to participate and participate fully.”
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An NBA spokesperson recently told the New York Times that approximately 85 percent of its players are fully vaccinated. The league will reportedly not have a vaccine mandate, but it will have vastly different health and safety protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
Unvaccinated players will be tested for COVID-19 once every practice day and travel day and at least once on every game day, according to The Associated Press. For the Nets, the New York Knicks, the Golden State Warriors and any other team that becomes subject to a local vaccination requirement, though, the NBA’s two-tiered system is effectively irrelevant.
“I think we all understand what’s at stake,” Marks said. “You know, we’ve had very candid conversations. Those are individual decisions that, whether it’s a staff member or whether a player, [individuals have to] come to terms with. It’s obviously out of our control. We are supporting getting the vaccination and putting out a healthy squad. And so at this point, I think we’re ready to go into the season.”
The Nets will hold their training camp in San Diego, per NetsDaily, and they will play their first preseason game on Oct. 3 against the Los Angeles Lakers. On Oct. 19, the 2021-22 NBA regular season will begin with Brooklyn visiting the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks.