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Unvaccinated Players Face Strict Requirements

Should a player choose not to be vaccinated, they will have to abide by a strong set of rules laid out by the league.

2021 NBA Draft Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

NBA players who do not get vaccinated against COVID-19 will face strict requirements in the locker room, on the team bus, and on team planes this upcoming NBA season, report Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Though the rules have yet to be confirmed by the players’ association, it is clear that the NBA is taking vaccination status seriously according to the proposed protocols.

Unvaccinated NBA players will have lockers as far away as possible from their vaccinated teammates and will have to eat, fly and ride buses in different sections as part of the league’s anticipated COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The protocols were released to teams Thursday in a memo obtained by ESPN.

Testing will be a key part of the protocols for those players who remain unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated players will have to undergo testing on game days and practice days and, depending on team schedules, could have to test twice on some game days. Vaccinated players will not undergo daily testing and will only be tested if they have symptoms themselves or are exposed to someone confirmed as COVID-19 positive.

Unlike vaccinated players, those who are not vaccinated will be required to quarantine for seven days should they be exposed to COVID-19. Strict social distancing guidelines will apply in all settings.

The memo spelling out the requirements also noted that they are hoping to test for antibodies as part of physicals.

Thursday’s memo also said the league hopes to secure an agreement with the union that would call for all players to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies as part of the preseason physicals.

Unvaccinated players who have documented recovery from COVID-19 within the previous six months may have some of the protocols relaxed, pending final approval.

The league has already said that local vaccination mandates will be enforced in New York and San Francisco for players on the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets.