The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has reportedly declined to change its stand against compulsory vaccination for players heading into the 2021-22 NBA season.
According to a league spokesman through New York Times, players won’t be required to get vaccinated because a vast majority of them already got the jab. Although sources said around 85 percent of the league’s players are vaccinated, while unvaccinated players will be subjected to a much stricter set of health and safety protocols.
Unlike the players, the association maintains that NBA referees are required to be fully vaccinated for the upcoming season.
The NBA spokesperson revealed that it has reached an agreement with the National Basketball Referees Association requiring vaccinations for all referees working with NBA games during the 2021-22 season.
The agreement requires that all referees must be fully vaccinated unless they have a religious or medical exemption. The referees have also agreed to take any recommended boosters. Any referee who does not get vaccinated and is not exempted will be ineligible to work games.
In addition to referees, the league is requesting all team and arena personnel who frequently interact with players and referees to be vaccinated. The list of arena personnel to be vaccinated includes: coaches, front-office members, medical and equipment staff, player development, team and arena security, social media team members, PR employees and those who work at the scorer’s table.
It also includes any personnel who will work near the court, like broadcasters and photographers. Back-of-house team and arena operations will also be mandated to be vaccinated.
The deadline for team personnel to be fully vaccinated is 1 October, 2021. Meanwhile, NBA training camps start on 28 September and the first preseason game is 3 October. The new NBA season starts in 19 October.
With many of the players and almost all team and arena personnel vaccinated, the league is clearly hopeful that it won’t have to suspend nearly as many games as it did a season ago.