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Unvaccinated NBA Players Face Steep Fines For Each Game They Miss, According To Agreement

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 4, 2021


The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to a reduction in pay of slightly more than 1% of a player’s salary for each game unvaccinated players are forced to sit out due to vaccine-related regulations in their home cities, ESPN reported Monday.

Key Facts

Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, announced last week that “any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses.”

The player’s union has not publicly commented on the league’s statement.

ESPN reports both sides have agreed to a compromise, with unvaccinated players being docked 1/91.6th of their salary for each game they miss.

This means unvaccinated players will forfeit approximately 42.6% of their total salary this season if they sit out every home game, as opposed to 50% of their salary.  

Key Background:

The NBA has mandated that all its referees have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and that ​​anyone “within close proximity” of players and referees will also have to be inoculated. However, the league and the NBPA agreed a vaccine mandate would not be enforced on players. Yet, the NBA informed teams last month that they will have to follow local regulations related to vaccines. This impacts three organizations: the Golden State Warriors, who play their home games in San Francisco, the New York Knicks, who play in Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Nets. Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, the team’s second-leading scorer last season, had been adamant in his refusal to get vaccinated and applied for a religious exemption late last month, which was denied by the league. Then, over the weekend, Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Wiggins had received a Covid-19 vaccine. “Andrew got vaccinated,” Kerr said Sunday. “He just told me today that he was fine with us acknowledging it, and that will be the end of it.” The Knicks have confirmed their team is 100% vaccinated. Yet, in Brooklyn, one of the Nets key players, Kyrie Irving, was unable to attend his team’s media day last week due to the locally enforced Covis-19 protocols, bringing into question his availability to play at home this season.  

Big Number:

$14,912,117: That’s the total salary—approximately $364,000 per contest—Irving will forfeit this season if he refuses to get vaccinated and cannot play in Brooklyn’s home games.   


Speaking with reporters last week, Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal not only said he remains unvaccinated but also openly questioned why others feel the need to get the jab. Beal claimed the league “kind of forces us, in a way, to want to get it,” but stated, “I don’t think you can pressure anybody into doing things or putting things in their body.” Beal also stated, “Some people have bad reactions to the vaccine,” and claimed, “Nobody likes to talk about that,” despite the fact that reactions to Covid vaccines have been studied vigorously. Because Washington, D.C., has not enacted a local vaccine mandate, Beal will not be forced to sit out any games this season. The mandates in place in New York City and San Francisco only apply to players on home teams, so those on visiting squads are not required to be vaccinated as long as they provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of the game. 

Further Reading:

Washington Wizards Star Bradley Beal Says He Is Not Vaccinated, Questions Others’ Motivations For Vaccination (Forbes)

Warriors’ Wiggins Reportedly Won’t Get Vaccinated—And So May Miss All Home NBA Games (Forbes)


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