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Unvaccinated NBA players who are on the road to face the Toronto Raptors this season will face serious penalties if they break protocols.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, any players who violate Canada’s Quarantine Act could face up to six months in prison and $750,000 in fines. Players who are not vaccinated will only be permitted to leave their hotel for team activities and cannot breach quarantine.
The NBA did not require its players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes reported the NBA Players Association said such a requirement was a “non-starter” during negotiations with the league about health and safety protocols.
However, the NBA does require its officials and most team staff members to be vaccinated, and the different standards for players did not sit well with some.
“Everyone who is vaccinated should be pissed at those who aren’t,” an unnamed assistant coach told Holmes. “Not requiring NBA players to be vaccinated is horse s–t.”
Yet local laws could force the hand of some players. In addition to the Toronto rules, local vaccine mandates for the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks mean players who are unvaccinated cannot play in home games.
With that as the backdrop, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Andrew Wiggins was vaccinated so he can play.
However, ESPN’s Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst reported the Nets are “unclear” whether Kyrie Irving will get the vaccine even though there was “previous optimism” that he would.
“Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said in a statement.
Players who violate protocols in Toronto will have to worry about more than missed paychecks.