Medical Technology

What Will Happen to NBA Players Who Won't Get Vaccinated?

The National Basketball Association announced Wednesday that players who haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be paid for games that they miss due to local orders that require shots.

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

New York City and San Francisco passed executive orders in recent weeks that require COVID-19 vaccines to enter arenas.

The Barclays Center in New York, where the Brooklyn Nets play, requires at least one vaccine dose to enter. San Francisco’s Chase Center, where the Golden State Warriors play, requires people to be fully vaccinated. The executive orders only apply to players based in those cities; out-of-town players are exempt, ESPN reported.

Nets player Kyrie Irving wasn’t at the team’s media day at the Barclays Center on Monday as a result of the New York order, according to ABC News. He participated via Zoom and declined to discuss his vaccine status. The Nets’ home opener is scheduled for Oct. 24.

On Friday, the NBA announced that it denied a religious exemption request from Warriors player Andrew Wiggins and said he wouldn’t play in home games until he meets San Francisco’s vaccine mandate, ABC News reported. The Warriors’ first home game is scheduled for Oct. 21.

Wiggins told reporters on Monday that his vaccination status is private but said his “back is definitely against the wall.”

“I’m just going to keep fighting for what I believe,” he said. “I’m going to keep fighting for what I believe is right. What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other, and vice versa.”

The New York Knicks NBA team has said its organization, including all players, is fully vaccinated and in compliance with the New York City order, ABC News reported.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are finalizing an agreement on health and safety protocols for the season, ESPN reported. The regular season starts on Oct. 19, and teams are expected to play a regular 82-game schedule for the first time since the 2018-2019 season.


ESPN: “NBA: No pay if unvaccinated players can’t play.”

ABC News: “NBA tells unvaccinated players they won’t get paid for missed games.”

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