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The NBA has officially decided it wants a fight with unvaccinated players as the league nears its October 19 starting date. The league announced Wednesday that it would withhold pay for all unvaccinated players who miss games due to cities where there are vaccine mandates.
This announcement appears to target two specific teams with vaccine holdouts: Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn and Andrew Wiggins in Golden State. California and New York have specific mandates that require vaccination for indoor activities. Irving indicated this week that he could decided to sit out home games in Brooklyn rather than comply with the New York City rule.
JUST IN: NBA to withhold pay for unvaccinated players who miss games due to local vaccine mandates.
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) September 29, 2021
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” Irving’s aunt, Tyki, who serves as one of his advisors, told Rolling Stone. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you.”
Now the NBA is bringing in a financial element to missing those games in New York and California. As for trips to Toronto, the Canadian government will permit unvaccinated players to enter the country for games, but the player will undergo daily testing and will not be allowed to leave the hotel for anything other than basketball activities.
Irving, who made $33,329,100 in 2020-21, is under contract for a guaranteed salary of $35 million in 2021-22. Wiggins’ 2021-22 salary is $31,579,390. Based on the California mandate and the Warriors schedule, Wiggins would be looking at losing out on half of his salary.
“And it’s my problem, not yours,” Wiggins told reporters Monday.
When pressed by reporters on why Wiggins isn’t coming forward with his vaccination status, the 26-year-old was prepared for battle.
“Because it’s none of your business. That’s what it comes down to, you know. I don’t ask you about your beliefs,” he said. “I don’t ask you about what you guys (media) think is right or wrong. We’re different people.”