The NBA hasn’t made Covid jabs mandatory, but local laws in some cities mean stars will not be allowed to play unless they get the vaccine
Basketball players who refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine and miss games as a result could lose out on millions of dollars after the NBA confirmed players would be punished for not getting the jab.
The announcement follows a string of high-profile players publicly stating they would not be receiving to vaccine.
Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, said in a statement: “Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses.”
Vaccines are not mandatory under NBA rules, though those who choose to forgo the jab are subject to more strict measures.
For example, they are segregated from vaccinated players during mealtimes, and have to subject to daily testing for any training sessions, travelling, team activities and games.
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Even with all those restrictions, local laws in New York and San Francisco have banned unvaccinated people from gathering in a list of places which includes indoor sports facilities.
It means those who play for teams based in those cities such as the Golden State Warriors or the New York Knicks will be without any unvaccinated players for home games, while the same rule applies for players on visiting teams who have not had the jab.
Nine in 10 NBA players are said to have had the vaccine, but Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is one of a few who have publicly said they do not want to receive it.
As the Nets are based in New York, it means Irving will be unavailable to play all home games until either he changes his mind or the rules are relaxed.
And that would cost him millions of dollars from his $35m salary.
The same goes for Andrew Wiggins, a forward for the Golden State Warriors who doubled down on his stance when the new rules were announced.
“Back is definitely against the wall, but I’m just going to keep fighting for what I believe,” he told reporters on Monday
“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.”
And the Washington Wizards ‘ Bradley Beal said he “doesn’t feel pressure” to get the jab, and remains unvaccinated ahead of the new NBA season, which is set to get under way on October 19.