NBA players who refuse to get vaccinated are looking at the prospect of being segregated from teammates when the season starts toward the end of October 2021.
According to a memorandum that was obtained by the media, players who refuse to get inoculated will be subjected to very rigorous and frequent testing by the league during the 2021-22 season. Such players are going to be tested before each practice and travel days and then again on game days.
Other mandates for unvaccinated players include the requirement to wear a mask at all team facilities and when the squad travels.
Most cumbersome is that the NBA is ordering teams to segregate non-vaccinated players from their vaccinated teammates. Teams will have to arrange seating during travel, meals, meetings, even locker-room setups to where the unvaccinated players are not sitting next to one another nor near any of the vaccinated teammates.
Vaccinated players can be subjected to testing if they exhibit symptoms. So far, the NBA and NBA Players Association are still in negotiations on a few issues, but the NBAPA has not mandated that every player get the vaccination.
There are some cities, however, that will prohibit unvaccinated players from being able to play at all in their home cities, including San Francisco, the new home of the Golden State Warriors, and New York, which is home to the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. In fact, players on those teams will be barred from even entering the facilities in those two cities except for pre-approved religious or medical reasons.
The teams are following the local government laws in those cities. Visiting players who are unvaccinated will be exempt from the vaccination policies in those cities, but it is not clear why.
Currently, approximately 85 percent of the NBA has been vaccinated. The league office is working to prevent another outbreak that is taking place in the rest of society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the pandemic has reached levels not seen since the winter of 2020.
Flip the page to listen to ESPN’s breakdown on how the experiences between unvaccinated and vaccinated players will be radically different this season.