NBA Not Requiring Player Vaccinations

Carter Bentivenga, Managing Editor

Despite a mandate for referees and most staff to be vaccinated, a new development is saying NBA players won’t be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The news broke Tuesday afternoon, per ESPN writers Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA and their players’ association (NBPA) are still currently negotiating terms of any COVID-19 related protocols for the 2021-22 season. However, Holmes and Wojnarowski both mentioned that the NBPA has “refused to budge” on their thought process that players shouldn’t be forced to take the vaccine. It was also mentioned that any proposal discussing a vaccination mandate remains a “non-starter” in any on-going negotiations.

The news was announced just after President Joe Biden announced a “sweeping set” of vaccination mandates that could affect nearly 100 million Americans.

It’s been reported by ESPN that around 85% of the league is currently vaccinated, and that the league has initiated a strict set of protocols for unvaccinated players. These requirements (while not finalized) include having lockers stationed far away from their vaccinated teammates, and having to eat, fly and ride buses in secluded sections. 

Baxter and Wojnarowski also reported that while league-wide vaccination isn’t mandatory, vaccine requirements will be enforced in both San Francisco and New York, due to new laws regarding the matter in both cities. This means the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks will all adhere to these requirements, unless the players submit either an approved medical document or religious exemption.

Per ESPN, neither the NBA nor the NBPA had immediately responded to a comment request.