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The NBA will not require players to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to play this season. League sources revealed this information to ESPN on Tuesday after negotiations between the NBPA and NBA were made public.
This is certainly a win for personal freedom since the NBA was the most likely professional sports league to enforce a vax to play rule. And perhaps the league wished it could have. ESPN says it was the National Basketball Players Association that stopped it. The NBPA described the matter as a “non-starter,” which is why Adam Silver could not channel his inner Joe Biden.
It seems the companies across the country with over 100 employees need an NBPA of their own. Or at least a few lawyers.
Still, we shouldn’t celebrate too loudly yet. While NBA players can refuse the vaccine, their seasons still won’t be back to normal. A preliminary memo revealed that the NBA is considering 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,” a preliminary memo revealed, according to Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski. “These protocols are not final and are still subject to talks with the NBPA.”
Different buses, huh?
The NBA and NBPA will continue to negotiate other aspects of COVID-related protocols and procedures for the upcoming 2021-22 season.
There is, however, another complication to the news today. New laws in New York and San Francisco will exclude the unvaccinated from attending home games for the Knicks, Nets, and Warriors this season. The NBA says these rules apply to team players unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.
Clay Travis spoke about this factor on Tuesday’s OutKick the Show:
“The NBA Players Association, credit to them for standing up for the players, is not going to allow the league to mandate the vaccine for NBA players. There will be no mandate that is put in place. This will be an interesting story to follow because there are likely to be many arenas in left-wing dominated cities that are going to have requirements that you have the vaccine in order to be able to go to games.”
“It will be intriguing to see how exactly this shakes out,” Clay goes on. “I appreciate the NBAPA standing up for their players.”
The NBA says roughly 85% of its players are vaccinated.