The NBA has declared that unvaccinated players won’t be paid if they miss matches due to executive orders in place in New York and San Francisco. The ruling could hit stars such as Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins especially hard.
NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass confirmed on Wednesday that “any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses.”
The statement comes after executive orders were passed in New York and San Francisco which affect local teams the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors respectively.
The NBA just announced it will withhold pay for all unvaccinated players who miss games due to local mandates. Will be very interesting to see what the union has to say about this.
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) September 29, 2021
At the Nets’ Barclays Center home, one Covid-19 shot is required to enter; anyone hoping to attend games in the Chase Center in San Francisco – where the Warriors play home games – will have to be fully vaccinated ahead of the new season.
New York’s other NBA team the Knicks are not believed to be affected after saying their entire organization had been fully vaccinated in accordance with local law.
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However, Nets star Irving is one person almost certain to be affected, and has been among the most-talked about stars in sport not to get the vaccine.
Irving was absent from the team’s media day in New York earlier this week, and according to recent reports in Rolling Stone, Irving has started following and ‘liking’ conspiracy-themed Instagram posts “which claim that ‘secret societies’ are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect black people to a master computer for ‘a plan of Satan.’”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 27, 2021
Wiggins, meanwhile, has said that his vaccination status is “private” but is said to be “hellbent on not getting the vaccine,” according to TMZ.
Earlier this month, the 26-year-old Canadian was denied a request for a vaccine exemption on religious grounds.
“Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements,” the NBA said.
TMZ has calculated that unless the two stars change their stance, they are set to miss out on at least 41 home games this season, with Wiggins in line to lose a whopping $15.8 million while Irving will pass up a mammoth $17.5 million.
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Elsewhere, Orlando Magic star Jonathan Isaac used his team’s media day this week to give a passionate speech about why he isn’t planning to get vaccinated.
Self-confessed ‘skeptic’ LeBron James revealed that he had taken the step ahead of the new season after “doing his research” on the issue.