NBA

The NBA arrives at a 95% vaccination rate for its players

On the back of the news that unvaccinated players will be docked pay should they cross state vaccination mandates, the NBA continues to push its vaccination drive.

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The NBA arrives at a 95% vaccination rate for its players
JARED C. TILTON AFP

Amidst a heavily publicized war of words between some high profile players and the league itself, the NBA actually has a cause to celebrate.

The NBA reaches 95% vaccinated

On Saturday the NBA announced that it had arrived at a 95% vaccination rate for its players. This represents a significant rise in numbers since the beginning of training camps this week. Some critics have indicated that the sudden rise in vaccinations can be attributed to the fact that the NBA announced earlier this week that any unvaccinated players playing in cities where a governmental mandate had been issued would be docked their pay. At present those cities are San Francisco and New York.

Regardless, the fervor surrounding unvaccinated players has taken a variety of twist and turns in recent days with high profile players such as a Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving and Washington's Bradley Beal speaking out against the vaccine. Irving has since backtracked on his stance and has now committed to getting the vaccine. According to the teams themselves, however, Irving's situation and that of many others changing their minds is due directly to continued education campaigns related to the safety of the vaccine.

The NBA and the Players Association are in agreement

In a sign of the commitment to a safer league, The NBA and the Players Association currently agreed on strict policies for unvaccinated players this season, including but not limited to isolation from teammates and staff. The NBA's protocols require that unvaccinated are subject to essentially the same set of restrictions that were in place last season when the vaccine was not yet available.

In contrast, Vaccinated players will face far less limitations. As per protocols, all fully vaccinated players, as well as Tier 1 personnel - coaches and anyone else working regularly within 15 feet of players and referees, all of whom have already been mandated to get the vaccine - will not be subject to daily testing. In addition, teams have also been advised that where seating arrangements are concerned, unvaccinateed players will not be permitted to sit with each other.

Face masks, the state, the NBA and Religious reasons

Though there continue to be varying changes to protocols and the situation in general it seems face masks aren't going anywhere. According to protocols every individual who enters the team's facilities or is traveling with the team will have to wear a mask at all times. This is of course subject to any applicable federal, state, or local laws, regulations or orders. Interestingly the majority of team staff and referees are vaccinated.

If anything is certain it's that the NBA do not intend to tolerate players who refuse to be vaccinated. While there are many different opinions the fact remains that the Players Association continues to support the league's protocols. In yet another recent episode - alongside that of Irving - it was alleged that Golden State Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins is set to miss home games after having his request for exemption on religious grounds denied by the NBA. Wiggins' availability is of course affected by the mandate in place in San Francisco which requires people attending or participating in any form of indoor entertainment to be vaccinated.