The NBA is playing hardball with unvaccinated players that belong to teams with local vaccine mandates, announcing on Wednesday that if they refuse to get the jab, they won’t get paid for the games they are forced to sit out.
“Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, remarked in a statement.
The ultimatum comes a day after the conclusion of NBA Media Days, where multiple superstars admitted that they haven’t received the COVID-19 shot.
“I would start with – I’ve had COVID,” Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac responded to a reporter asking why he hasn’t been vaccinated. “Our understanding of antibodies, of natural immunity has changed a great deal from the onset of the pandemic, and it’s still evolving.”
“I understand that the vaccine would help if you catch COVID and you’ll be able to have less symptoms from contracting it, but with me having COVID in the past and having antibodies… With my current age group and physical fitness level, it’s not necessarily a fear of mine.” he continued.
“I don’t believe that being unvaccinated means infected or being vaccinated means uninfected, Isaac concluded. “You can still catch COVID, with or with not having the vaccine.”
Fortunately for Isaac, he will not be affected by the NBA’s executive order, which only applies to players that belong to teams in the cities with vaccine mandates. Visiting players from out-of-market teams are exempt from local rules.
Currently the only cities with local inoculation mandates are New York and San Francisco, which impacts the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Golden State Warriors.
While the entire Knicks organization is currently fully vaccinated, superstars Kyrie Irving of the Nets and Andrew Wiggins of the Warriors, stand to lose more than $400K and $350K per missed home game respectively.