With the 2021-22 NBA season less than two weeks away, the league is still figuring out how to navigate having players that are unvaccinated against COVID-19. Although 96 percent of the league's players are reportedly vaccinated, a few key holdouts will have to deal with some complications this year.
Multiple cities that host NBA teams, including New York and San Francisco, have implemented mandates that will prevent unvaccinated individuals on those clubs from practicing or playing in games in those areas. Players that miss games as a result of being unvaccinated will not get paid for those contests.
However, a new policy has come to light in Canada that's even more punitive than those that've been seen in the United States.
Sources: NBA players were informed unvaccinated players who breach quarantine in Toronto face criminal offense. Unvaccinated players only able to leave hotel for team activities. Per Canada's Quarantine Act, violations could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750K in fines.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 7, 2021
">According to Shams Charania, unvaccinated players who break quarantine in Toronto will face criminal offense. Those particular individuals will only be allowed to leave the team's hotel for team related activities.
Any player that does not adhere to those guidelines will be subject to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines, per Canada's Quarantine Act.
That measure would impact any team that travels north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors. Given that the organization will host at least 41 regular season games over the next few months, many unvaccinated players will be affected.
The Raptors reportedly reached the 100 percent vaccination threshold recently, so the measure won't affect the city's own organization. However, a handful of notable NBA players have been outspoken about their unvaccinated status in recent weeks and will now be subject to more stringent policies in Toronto.
With the local mandates in the U.S. cities and the latest protocols in Canada, unvaccinated players will have a difficult time staying on the court this upcoming season. Time will tell if that changes any individual's decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine.