NBA says players who choose not to get vaccinated and miss games as a result will not be paid

NBA says players who choose not to get vaccinated and miss games as a result will not be paid

September 30, 2021

Reid Travis of the New York Knicks shoots against Saddiq Bey, Luka Garzaz and Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on 13 August 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Unvaccinated NBA players who miss games for not complying with local coronavirus inoculation mandates are likely to lose millions of dollars.

“Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” Mike Bass, the National Basketball Association’s executive vice president of communications, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The announcement came ahead of a training camp in New York and San Francisco where local laws forbid unjabbed individuals from gathering at certain public places, including indoor sports areas.

While the NBA does not require players to be vaccinated, unvaccinated players have a long list of restrictions, including daily testing on all practice, travel, team activity and game days, and segregation from vaccinated players during meals, under the new memo.

Around 90 per cent of NBA players are fully vaccinated, with only a handful of high-profile players, including Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, publicly refusing to take the vaccine, citing “personal reasons.”

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Brooklyn Nets’ star Kyrie Irving refused to discuss his vaccination status on Monday, saying he would like to keep “that stuff private.”

Ahead of the game season that begins on 19 October, Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz supported players’ vaccine hesitancy.

“I stand with Kyrie Irving. I stand with Andrew Wiggins. I stand with Bradley Beal. I stand with Jonathan Isaac,” Mr Cruz wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, along with the hashtag #YourBodyYourChoice.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard, who won a gold medal as part of Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics, this week advocated for inoculation against coronavirus.

“I’m not mad at people for saying, ‘I need to do my research,’ or they got to take the steps that make them comfortable,” Lillard said. “But I have a lot of people in my family that I’m tight with and I spend a lot of time around and I’m just not going to put their health or their lives in danger because I want to do research. As a kid, I had to get shots my whole life. Before I went to college, I had to get shots. And, I couldn’t tell you one thing about any of them.”

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“I’m just not going to put their health or their lives in danger,” he told reporters. “It’s pretty simple, actually,” he said, adding that he had lost some relatives to Covid-19.

Additional reporting by agencies

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