by Harrison Askey / October 5, 2021
The NBA has found itself in a tough situation dealing with COVID-19 and with the vaccine. As of now the league does not enforce all players to get the vaccine, but there are different guidelines for the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Some of these guidelines for the unvaccinated are that they are subject to random COVID tests at anytime and possibly multiple times on a game day. They also have to be social distanced at team meals, on the team bus, and in the locker room. Unvaccinated players also have to immediately quarantine if they come into close contact with someone who has the virus.
Brooklyn Nets star and vice president of the Players Association Kyrie Irving has spoken out about how he is hesitant to get the vaccine, and this could cost him a lot of money. New York City requires proof of vaccination to attend any large indoor event, and if Irving doesn’t get vaccinated, he could miss every home game. The league stated that unvaccinated players will not be paid for games they miss due to local government COVID laws, so when you add it all up, Irving could lose over half of his $34 million salary in this move.
Irving speaking out led to many others speaking out about their vaccination status. Some players like Wizards Bradley Beal, Magics Jonathan Isaac, Nuggets Micheal Porter Jr., and others have not been vaccinated either feeling uncomfortable with it or for personal reasons. On the other hand, there are a lot of other players that have gotten vaccinated such as Lakers Lebron James, Bucks Giannis Antetekumpo, Trail Blazers Damian Lillard, and more have gotten vaccinated saying they did it to protect their families.
The NBA will be in a tough spot for a while on whether or not to mandate the vaccine, and it will be interesting to see how this affects the future of the league.