Updated September 30, 2021, 12:25 p.m. ET
The NBA is back and back with it’s COVID-19 worries.
For a third season, the association is navigating exploitation games while trying to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
This time around, they’ve got a new twist: the vaccines – but not all players say they’re ready to take them. The vast majority of the league’s players are vaccinated, but some top athletes have said they won’t say if they are vaccinated or not.
Also note, the WNBA said in June that 99% of its players were fully vaccinated.
Sanctions for not proving vaccination
As training camp began this week, some players brushed off questions about the vaccine. Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving and Golden State Warriors player Andrew Wiggins told reporters they wanted to keep their vaccination status private.
But their statuses may not remain private for long: Wiggins and Irving play in towns with regulations prohibiting unvaccinated players from playing in indoor arenas, and it’s presumed they aren’t both vaccinated. It is not known what will happen to players who are not vaccinated and play in areas with such prescriptions.
Rolling Stone Reports some unvaccinated players are considering “skipping home games to dodge New York City’s ordinance … or at least threatening to protest them.”
And since NBA announced unvaccinated players will not be paid for games they miss due to local ordinances requiring vaccines, some players could risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars for each game they miss.
High-profile calls for consequences
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards told reporters he was not vaccinated for personal reasons, then wondered what might happen if a player is unable to play due to complications from the vaccine. Irving reportedly liked Instagram posts that include vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and very effective in preventing death and serious illness. And scientists aren’t the only ones saying this, the great basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also joined.
In a article published in Rolling Stone on SaturdayAbdul-Jabbar said the NBA should demand that all players and staff be vaccinated – or exclude them from teams.
“There is no place for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, staff and fans just because they are unable to grasp the gravity of the situation or to do the research. necessary, ”Abdul-Jabbar said.
LA Lakers star LeBron James announced on Tuesday that he had been vaccinated. “I know I was very skeptical about all of this, but after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt it was best suited not only for me but for my family and friends. , and that’s why I decided to do it, “James said during media availability with the team.
Precautions beyond the vaccine
ESPN Reports Additional tension is bubbling up around the status of unvaccinated players, as some NBA staff members fear players are spreading COVID-19 and fueling groundbreaking infections. The league needed all the staff around players, including coaches and referees, get vaccinated, according to multiple media.
The NBA does not have a vaccination mandate for players because the league says the players’ union has rejected the idea. League reports it will implement a host of other precautions. They include frequent testing of unvaccinated players and banning them from visiting what the NBA has called “high-risk establishments,” such as restaurants, bars, and clubs, reports the Associated Press.
Most players have rolled up their sleeves, even without a league mandate. The New York Knicks Report that their entire team list is vaccinated.
Michele Roberts of the National Basketball Players Association said the real story is the number of players vaccinated. “Over ninety percent (90%) of our players are fully vaccinated. Nationally, on average, only fifty-five (55%) of Americans are… The real story for vaccination supporters is how do we emulate NBA players.
Regular season play begins October 19.
This story originally appeared on the Morning edition live blog.