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Report: NBA Will Not Mandate COVID Vaccine For Players
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - JULY 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands on the NBA logo against the LA Clippers during the second quarter of the game at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 30, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Any member of an NBA team who works within 15 feet of players during games must be vaccinated by October 1 in order to fully participate in the 2021-2022 NBA season. Referees will also be required to be fully vaccinated in order to call NBA games. 

For NBA players, the requirements will not be the same. 

According to an ESPN report, the NBA will not have a vaccine mandate in place for players for the upcoming season. 

However, the unvaccinated may be subject to much stricter rules in-season than those that are fully vaccinated. 

The league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) continue to negotiate the COVID protocols for the upcoming season. Some of the options reportedly on the table include having the lockers of unvaccinated players far away from those of their vaccinated teammates and having the unvaccinated eat and travel in different sections, apart from their teammates. 

Players on the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Golden State Warriors, however, will have to follow local laws regarding vaccine requirements. 

New York has made it a requirement for anyone over 12 years of age to provide proof of at least one dose of the vaccine in order to enter “large scale events.” This includes games at Barclays Center — home of the Nets — and Madison Square Garden — home of the Knicks. 

The same rules apply in the city of San Francisco beginning October 13. 

NBA training camps begin this month and the first regular-season game is October 19. 

Professional sports leagues have been pushing for all employees and players to be fully vaccinated for some time, with the NFL and NHL requiring that team personnel be fully vaccinated in order to work around players. 

The NFL requires that all Tier One employees — which includes coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers, and staff — be fully vaccinated unless they receive a medical or religious exemption. In August, the NHL issued a memo to teams stating that any person working closely with team personnel or players must be fully vaccinated. 

Vaccine requirements have reached the college ranks as well.

On Monday, Billy Ray Stutzmann — assistant football coach at the Naval Academy — announced that he had been fired for refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot. 

“The Naval Academy Athletic Association policy regarding COVID-19 requires all coaches and staff to be vaccinated against this virus,” Stutzmann wrote in a lengthy social media post. “Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy’s Covid-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months. After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy. I continue to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues.” 

RELATED: ‘I Continue To Stand Firm In My Conviction Of Faith’: Navy Football Coach Says He Was Fired After Refusing COVID Vaccine

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to

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