Public/Global Health

NBA unveils COVID-19 safety protocols

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The National Basketball Association has unveiled its COVID-19 safety protocols for the upcoming season amid massive backlash from marquee players sharing their vaccine hesitancy. 

Unvaccinated players will not be allowed to eat among vaccinated teammates, must have lockers far away from them and are mandated to wear a mask and follow social distancing rules during team meetings, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Unvaccinated players are also required to remain at their homes when in their team’s city and to stay in hotel rooms when on the road, barring them from attending various businesses and large indoor gatherings. 

Unvaccinated players will also be tested frequently when their respective teams are practicing, traveling or having similar team events, according to the AP. 

While not being required to quarantine, vaccinated players will still have to submit weekly COVID-19 tests, according to the league memo. 

This comes as the league players union has pushed back against a mandatory requirement of all players getting vaccinated, which the league doesn’t have in place. 

The league has recently made headlines for prominent players such as Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Isaac sharing misinformation and hesitancy on getting the vaccine. 

League’s spokesperson Mike Bass said Wednesday that “Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” according to a report from ESPN’s NBA reporter Malika Andrews.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James shared on Tuesday that he’s vaccinated against the virus, but doesn’t believe that athletes are required to use their platform to promote vaccinations compared to protests of police brutality against Black Americans.  

“We’re not talking about something political, or racism or police brutality,” James said. “We’re talking about people’s bodies and well-being. I don’t think I personally should get involved in what other people should do for their bodies and livelihoods.”

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