NBA players who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 (and don’t have a medical clearance) will not be able to play games against the Toronto Raptors in Canada, according to a League memo obtained by ESPN.
The memo states that players ineligible to play in Canada due to vaccination requirements must be listed as “Out – Health and Safety Protocols” and will not be paid for any games missed due to not being vaccinated.
This report comes two weeks after Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports reported that the NBA will not have a vaccine mandate but instead leave mandates up to the cities and states teams play in.
New York and San Francisco each had vaccine mandates last season, which forced unvaccinated players such as Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to miss home games. In contrast, players like the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins revealed that he regretted getting the vaccine altogether.
Irving and Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers missed road games against the Raptors because of a similar rule last season. Irving sat out one regular season game in Toronto, while Thybulle missed two regular season games and three playoff road games in The 6 because he never received a second COVID-19 shot.
The same rules will apply to playing a game in Canada and entering the United States, per the League memo. Anyone playing for the Raptors must be vaccinated to play in any game this season. The entire Raptors team was fully vaccinated last season.
Canada’s vaccine requirement won’t be a problem for the vast majority of the League, as 97 percent of the NBA is vaccinated, per CBS Sports.
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