Report: Some unvaccinated players will be barred from playing home games per new guidelines

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Report: Some unvaccinated players will be barred from playing home games per new guidelines
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In local markets with vaccination restrictions, the NBA will reportedly disallow unvaccinated players to go inside home facilities, play in home games or attend team activities without religious or medical exemption, according to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This would include the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors. Visiting players are exempt from local vaccination restrictions, per Charania.

This decision reads as a pushback on unvaccinated players. The move is reminiscent of the NFL’s decision in July which could lead to forfeits and restrictions on player’s pay for games canceled due to COVID-19.

The NBA is also planning on scaling back restrictive bench protocols and adjusting mask guidelines for fans and team personnel, according to Charania.

The league is planning on returning to normal bench seating, removing previously assigned seating or cool-down seating requirements. Team personnel are still expected to be required to wearing face masks.

The NBA will require that fans within 15 feet of the bench must be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test prior to the game. This requirement has been scaled back from 30 feet previously, as reported by Charania in Nov. 2020.

The league announced a host of COVID-19 protocols in January of last season, including limitations on player-to-player interactions, activities outside of the “team environment,” meeting times, visitation with non-team personnel and masking.

The full host of protocols have not yet been released for the 2021-22 season.