There’s been quite a bit of speculation over what the COVID protocols would look like for the upcoming NBA season. Especially with how controversial the topic has become in the NFL just one week into the season. Today NBA insiders are reporting that the league was not able to reach an agreement with the players’ association to essentially force players to get vaccinated to be able to play. However, the players that choose not to get the shot are looking at a segregated lifestyle moving forward!
Downplaying The Issue
On the eve of the announcement that players won’t need to get vaccinated league officials are certainly trying to downplay the issue. NBA sources claim that in a memo that was sent out to them from the league, officials say that around 85% of the players in the league are currently vaccinated. Essentially those players who are vaccinated won’t need to worry about excessive COVID protocols. It’s anticipated that the league won’t press the Players’ Association to force the other 15% to get the vaccine. However, the protocols that these players will have to follow are strict!
What’s This Talk About Segregation
It’s important to point out that these COVID protocols for unvaccinated players have not yet been finalized. The potential protocols that are currently being discussed include having unvaccinated players dress in separate locker rooms than the rest of their vaccinated teammates. Other ideas that are being considered include having unvaccinated individuals, eat separately from the rest of the team. As well as having to use a designated area on the team buses and planes when they travel!
It just seems like it’s a matter of time before someone who’s forced to sit on a different part of the bus brings up Rosa Parks. Not taking any sides here, it just looks like the debate is going to get ugly quickly!
Staff Do Have To Get Vaccinated
The rules that apply to the players don’t necessarily apply to the staff. This is more of a legal issue than anything else. It’s just like what happens in the NFL. The players are part of a union, granted sports players are potentially the highest-paid union workers, but they are still union workers. The staff members on each team are not represented by a union. Therefore, most of the teams have mandated that their staff be vaccinated. Referees are also getting a vaccine mandate to be able to work in the league.
We Are Already Seeing This Debate in The NFL
Last week NFL head coach Urban Meyer basically admitted that he and his staff cut players from the team that refused to get the shot. Former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton also said in an interview following his release from the team that he believed his unvaccinated status contributed to him getting kicked off the team. Newton had skipped mandatory steps in the NFL COVID protocol for unvaccinated players prior to getting kicked off the team. The protocol violation saw him be suspended from the team for 5 days.
Naturally, teams are not overjoyed when they have to cope with these types of suspensions over protocol violations. Life moving forward for unvaccinated players in pro sports is going to be more of a hassle than it is for players who opted to get the shot. It seems like a matter of time before things start getting ugly.