One of the biggest questions regarding the 2021-22 NBA season has apparently been answered. According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, NBA players will not be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine in order to take the floor next year, and while a number of other preventative measures are on the table in negotiations between the league and the players association, a vaccine mandate is reportedly a “non-starter.”
The league reportedly says that 85 percent of its players have received the vaccine, while Holmes reports that the league has put forth a number of restrictions on unvaccinated players that still need to be approved by way of negotiations with the NBPA.
Such protocols include having lockers far from vaccinated teammates and having to eat, fly and ride buses in different sections. These protocols are not final and are still subject to talks with the NBPA.
The NBA informed teams in early September that new laws in both New York and San Francisco regarding vaccine requirements will be enforced for members of the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors — including for their teams’ players — unless there is an approved medical or religious exemption, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
The league has put in place a number of mandates on other people who are around the game, most notably coaches and front office staffers. Perhaps something will change as negotiations continue, but for now, it appears that the NBA will have to strongly incentivize players getting it instead of making it compulsory.