NBA prepares protocol for unvaccinated players

The NBA informed its teams Tuesday night that it is finalizing an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association on a set of health and safety protocols for the upcoming regular season, according to information in a memo obtained by ESPN.

The protocols will require unvaccinated players to be under many of the same restrictions that the entire League played under for the vast majority of last season, before the COVID-19 vaccine was available.

Vaccinated players, on the other hand, will have far fewer restrictions. For example, all fully vaccinated players, as well as Level 1 personnel (coaches and anyone else who regularly works within 15 feet of players and umpires, all of whom are already mandated to receive the vaccine) will not have to undergo daily tests.

The only time outside of that, vaccinated players and Level 1 staff will need to be screened only when they are symptomatic, have had close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or a member of the team’s medical staff or a doctor from the League requires it.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated players will need to undergo daily testing before entering the team facilities, participating in team-organized activities, or interacting with other players and Level 1 staff. They will also need to undergo laboratory testing on the day. of the game, like they did last season.

Unvaccinated players will also have to live by a strict set of rules similar to those that governed their movements last season. These include: being prohibited from dining inside the same room at the same time as any other Level 1 player or staff; keep at least six feet away from anyone else (and wear a mask at all times); keep at least six feet away during treatment sessions from any other player who is also receiving treatment at the same time (they are required to wear a mask at all times); to be provided with a locker that is as far away as possible from other players and not next to another player who is not fully vaccinated.

Teams have also been instructed to ensure that their seating arrangements prevent players who are not fully vaccinated from sitting together.

Unvaccinated players must also remain at their residence at home and at the team hotel on the road, with the only exceptions being team activities and essential activities such as shopping for food or taking their children to school. They are not allowed to go to restaurants, bars, clubs, entertainment venues, or large indoor gatherings, and can only have in-person interactions with non-family members with a “limited number of close personal guests” who must submit. to tests beforehand.

Fully vaccinated players will also not need to be quarantined if they have close contact, unless there are “unusual circumstances”, although they will generally have to go through daily rapid tests for the next seven days.

In the meantime, unvaccinated players will need to be quarantined for seven days, no matter what.

One thing that will be consistent for both vaccinated and unvaccinated players is the use of face masks, which the protocols say everyone should wear at all times when: on the team premises (including on the bench during games, at the locker room and training room, when receiving treatment and during team meetings); travel with the equipment, including at any time indoors other than in your individual hotel room) and otherwise required by applicable federal, state or local laws, regulations or orders.

That will not be the case when players are participating in basketball activities, when showering, or when eating and drinking where permitted.

Head coaches will also not have to be masked during games.

There are still a few issues to be determined before the final agreement is reached, including the tests that will be conducted for fully vaccinated players during the regular season and activities that fully vaccinated players will be able to participate in outside of team activities.

About 90 percent of NBA players are vaccinated, although that leaves a few who are not, including the Washington Wizards star, Bradley Beal, who said he wasn’t during the team’s press day on Monday. Both the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors are also dealing with potential absences during the regular season due to executive orders in New York City and San Francisco, respectively, which require anyone who is in a gym, including the Barclays Center. from Brooklyn and the Chase Center in San Francisco. – receive at least one injection of the COVID-19 vaccine or be fully vaccinated, respectively.

The star of the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie irving, was not at the team’s press day at the Barclays Center as a result of the order in New York, which took effect earlier this month, while Wiggins said his vaccination status was “private” on the Monday before for that order to go into effect one month prior to the start of the regular season.

Those executive orders governing the vaccine only apply to players who play in those markets; players outside the market are exempt from them.

When asked about the lack of a vaccination mandate in the NBA early Tuesday, NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said in a statement that “a vaccination mandate for NBA players would need an agreement. with the Players Association. The NBA has made these proposals, but the players union has rejected any vaccination requirement. “

Later Tuesday, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts issued her own statement on the vaccination status of Liga players.

“More than ninety percent of our players are fully vaccinated,” Roberts said in the statement. Nationally, on average, only fifty-five (55%) of Americans are. “