NBPA President Says Vaccination Status Shouldn't Affect Player Pay

Michele Roberts

Photo: Getty Images

Approximately 95% of NBA players are vaccinated against COVID-19, but coronavirus protocols and regulations continue to be a hot topic around the league. Most notably, local officials in New York and San Francisco have mandated that members of the Nets, Knicks and Warriors be vaccinated before participating in home games. Adding to these mandates, the NBA has also indicated that players who miss home games due to their refusal to be vaccinated will not be paid.

During a recent interview, NBA Players Association President Michele Roberts pushed back against the NBA's plans. Among other things, Roberts said that she didn't feel it was right not pay to players that miss home games due to their vaccination status.

“They’ve been reporting that we’ve agreed that if a player who was not able to play because of his non-vaccination status, they could be docked [pay]. We did not agree. The league’s position is that they can. We’ll see. If we get to that point, we’ll see," Roberts told the New York Daily News.

"Right now, we’ve agreed that if a player breaks protocols, he can be disciplined to include some taxing of his comp. But not being vaccinated — because it’s not mandatory — in and of itself should not lead to any discipline.”

Previous reports indicate that the NBA has pushed for a league wide vaccine mandate, but the players union has not been in favor of such a measure. With that said, Roberts has been vocal about wanting to have all players vaccinated before the end of the season.

“We were against mandatory vaccination because the union’s membership appreciated that, given all the information, that players would make the best decision for them,” Roberts added.

“And 95/96% said, ‘I want to be vaccinated.’ We’re still working towards 100%."

Roberts expects the number of unvaccinated players “will be down to a dozen” within the next few weeks. Unfortunately, the list of unvaccinated players may include two stars -- Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal. Washington Wizards Guard Bradley Beal will be allowed to play in all 82 regular season games because the District of Columbia has not instituted a vaccine mandate. In addition, vaccination mandates for NBA players in New York and San Francisco do not apply to visitors. As for Irving, he could lose nearly $400,000 for every missed home game. With the season set to begin later this month, the Nets are still unsure if Irving will comply with local guidelines.

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