Unvaccinated NBA players WILL be subjected to weekly COVID-19 tests this season as the league announces rules ahead of the new season… while jabbed stars will only need to get screened if they have symptoms
- The NBA is requiring unvaccinated players to undergo weekly testing in 2022-23
- All players, vaccinated or not, will be tested if they’re symptomatic
- The NBA hasn’t mandated vaccines for its players, but does defer to local laws
The NBA continues to lift COVID-era restrictions for players, but those who remain unvaccinated will still be required to undergo weekly testing, according to a new healthy and safety protocols released Tuesday.
While all symptomatic players will be required to be tested, unvaccinated players will also ‘undergo once-weekly surveillance testing, except on days off or if recently recovered,’ according to the updated protocols. Facemasks, however, are no longer required.
The NBA has never mandated vaccines for players, but did defer to local health guidelines, resulting in unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving being sidelined for portions of last season. The league did reduce isolation periods over the course of the 2021-22 campaign on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The NBA continues to lift COVID-era restrictions for players, but those who remain unvaccinated will still be required to undergo weekly testing, according to a new healthy sand safety protocols released Tuesday
The vast majority of NBA players are completely inoculated against COVID-19, with the league consistently boasting roughly 95-percent vaccination rate among team rosters. However, there have been several notable holdouts, including Irving and Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac.
Last month, Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins said he regretted getting vaccinated at the NBA’s urging, despite the fact that it helped him win his first league title back in June.
‘I did it, and I was an All-Star this year and champion, so that was the good part, just not missing out on the year, the best year of my career,’ Wiggins told FanSided. ‘But for my body, I just don’t like putting all that stuff in my body, so I didn’t like that and I didn’t like that it wasn’t my choice. I didn’t like that it was ”either get this or don’t play.”’
The NBA did not require players to get vaccinated last season, but did require players to follow local mandates, meaning that Wiggins would not have been able to play home games in San Francisco were he to remain unvaccinated. Ultimately he chose to get the injection, while others like Irving held out until New York offered an exemption in March.
Wiggins applied for a religious exemption with the NBA but was denied, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health added that it wouldn’t consider exemptions of any type.
The vast majority of NBA players are completely inoculated against COVID-19, with the league consistently boasting roughly 95-percent vaccination rate among team rosters. However, there have been several notable holdouts, including Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (right) and Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (left)
The Toronto native ultimately relented and received the vaccine — the Johnson & Johnson single-dose shot — shortly before the start of the season. At the time, he said he was ‘forced’ to get it.
The decision proved to be a good one, professionally speaking. Not only did Wiggins preserve his $32 million salary for the season, but he had his best season, averaging just north of 17 points a game while making a career-high 39.3 percent of his 3-point attempts.
After his first All-Star selection in February, Wiggins helped the Warriors to an NBA Finals win over the Boston Celtics, averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds a game in the six-game series.
The 27-year-old is entering the last season of his five-year, $147 million deal and will make $33.6 million for the year.
While Wiggins was open and straightforward with fans about his objection to the vaccine, Irving ignited controversy in New York over his refusal to get injected.
Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins became an All-Star and NBA champion this season after reluctantly getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but despite his career year, he says he regrets getting the injection at the league’s urging. (Pictured: Wiggins at the Warriors’ title parade’
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The seven-time All-Star played only 29 of 82 games this season due to a local New York City mandate, for which he was ultimately given an exemption, and the team’s decision to hold him out of practice and road games, which the club reversed in late December.
Following the first-round playoff exit, Nets assistant coach and former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire admitted that Irving’s frequent absences had a significant impact on Brooklyn this year.
‘Yeah, I think it hurt us’ Stoudemire, who has since left the Nets, told ESPN in May. ‘It definitely hurt us because we didn’t have consistency enough with Kyrie to build chemistry with the group, with the team.
‘He’s playing only away games depending which city it is… can’t play in New York … therefore we had different lineups, different matchups depending on the game schedule. So it made it difficult for us coaches to figure out who’s going to play in spite of Kyrie. So it was difficult for us to manage that so yeah, it was part of that.’
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