The NBA is requiring team personnel interacting with players — coaches, equipment managers, trainers, general managers, etc. — to be fully vaccinated for this upcoming season.
Now NBA will require referees to be vaccinated as well. The NBA reached a deal with the National Basketball Referees Association — the referee union — to require vaccinations, the league announced. From the official press release:
The agreement specifies that all referees must be fully vaccinated unless they have a religious or medical exemption. The referees have also agreed to take any recommended boosters. Any referee who does not get vaccinated and is not exempt will be ineligible to work games.
This is a good thing. The science is clear: the COVID vaccine saves lives, and if the goal is to keep the NBA family safe, the more people vaccinated, the better. The league cannot mandate player vaccinations, that is tied to the players’ union, but 90% of NBA players are vaccinated, according to union executive director Michele Roberts.
The NBA is still putting together its COVID protocols for the coming season. For example, it’s not yet clear what would happen if a team could not field enough players for a game due to positive COVID tests/contact tracing. Training camps are set to open on Sept. 28, with the season tipping off on Oct. 19.