NBA players will not be mandated to get vaccinated against COVID-19, league sources tell ESPN.
The NBA and NBPA continue to negotiate aspects of COVID-related protocols and procedures for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign, but the NBPA has refused to budge on its demand that players not be required to take the vaccine, sources say, and any proposal that mandates vaccination remains a “non-starter.”
NBA referees and most NBA staff are mandated to be vaccinated.
The NBA and NBPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Roughly 85% of players are vaccinated, a league spokesman recently said, and, in a preliminary memo obtained by ESPN in early September, the league outlined a set of strict protocols for unvaccinated players.
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.
In late August, the NBA informed teams that personnel under team control who worked within 15 feet of players or officials during games would be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
Within the last week, President Joe Biden announced a sweeping set of vaccine mandates that could impact as many as 100 million Americans.