The NBA announced that it will withhold pay for players who miss games this season due to their vaccination status. On Wednesday (Sept. 29), the league revealed the news. “Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.
Not paying unvaccinated players for missed games is one of many COVID-19 protocols the league announced. Players who have not received the vaccine will not be allowed to eat with their inoculated teammates and their lockers will be located in a different area from the others.
Unvaccinated players will also be required to wear a mask, receive frequent COVID-19 tests and will have to remain in their place of residence during home games and stay in the hotel during away games.
The protocols did not, however, include a vaccine mandate. The league reportedly tried to enforce one, but it was blocked by the National Basketball Players Association, which said the policy is a “non-starter.” Vaccinated players will be required to submit weekly COVID-19 testing as well.
About 90 percent of the league is fully vaccinated, including LeBron James, who revealed his vaccination status to reporters earlier this week. “I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said. “After doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me, but for my family and my friends, and that’s why I decided to do it.”
LeBron then stated that he didn't feel it was his job to encourage other players to get the vaccine. “We’re talkin’ about individuals’ bodies,” he said. “We’re not talkin’ about something that’s political, or racism, or police brutality...”