LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The NBA said Wednesday players who do not comply with local Covid-19 vaccination mandates will be docked pay for games they are forced to miss because of their status.
The policy means players with teams based in San Francisco and New York — where local regulations require full vaccination for indoor events — must get vaccinated or else risk seeing their pay effectively cut in half.
”Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement to reporters.
The NBA comment comes amid tensions between the league and a minority of players who have declined to be vaccinated.
Around 90 percent of the NBA’s players have been vaccinated, but a hardcore have either refused to get vaccinated or have declined to divulge their vaccination status.
That minority includes Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, who earlier this week would not comment on his vaccination status.
Irving is a key part of the Nets’ plans for the coming season, but as things stand he will not be able to play in home games unless he gets vaccinated.
Local Covid-19 regulations in San Francisco could also mean the Golden State Warriors are without Andrew Wiggins, another vaccine holdout.
The NBA on Friday denied a request from Wiggins for religious exemption from the vaccine, meaning the Warriors swingman will be unable to play home games for the club.
”I’m just going to keep fighting for what I believe and for what I believe is right,” Wiggins said on Monday. ”What’s right to one person, isn’t right to the other and vice versa.”
The Warriors’ first home game of the regular season takes place against the Los Angeles Clippers on October 21.