This week, legal sources have come forward to say that NBA players will not be forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Sources told ESPN that while the NBA and NBPA are still negotiating aspects of COVID-related protocols and procedures for the upcoming 2021-22 season, the NBPA has refused to budge when it comes to forcing players to get vaccinated. One source even said that any proposals about vaccine mandates had been a “non-starter” for the NBPA.
This comes after a spokesperson for the NBA said that around 85% of players are vaccinated. In a preliminary memo that came out earlier this month, the league outlined a set of strict protocols for unvaccinated players. These protocols include unvaccinated players having lockers far from vaccinated teammates and eating, flying, and riding buses in different sections. However, it should be noted that these protocols are not final, and they are still subject to changes from the NBPA.
The NBA has previously announced that they will follow local regulations regarding vaccination rules, so unvaccinated players in New York and San Francisco will not be allowed to play in home games. Both the New York Knicks and Nets declined to comment on how many players were unvaccinated.
“We will continue to follow all government and league mandates,” a Knicks spokesperson said, with one Brooklyn source adding, “Hope this doesn’t affect us.”
According to The New York Post, Knicks guard Alec Burks recently confirmed that he was vaccinated before he tested positive for COVID-19.
“I’m not sure how many have gotten it, but I know a number have, and a number of our staff have as well,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said at the end of the last season. “So I think everyone, like the rest of the country, that’s where everyone’s moving towards, and hopefully we can get back to normal at some point.”
Former NBA legend Charles Barkley spoke out earlier this month to slam players who refuse to get vaccinated.
“For us to be selfish and not trying to help the world get back where we can take these stupid masks off and go out to dinner in a full restaurant, I just think it’s selfish,” Barkley said, according to NBC.
“I’ve heard these idiots talk about chips in it, and I heard people talking about [the government] wants to follow us around,” he added, referring to conspiracy theories about the vaccine. “They can follow us around anyway. Everybody got a cellphone. And first of all, what are you doing that you’re worried about people following you?”
Americans everywhere should be free to make their own decision about getting the COVID-19 vaccine without having to worry about losing their jobs or livelihoods. We applaud the NBA for not forcing their players to get vaccinated, and we hope they don’t buckle to pressure from the left to change this policy.