The National Basketball Association (NBA) has decided not to enforce vaccine mandates for the next season confirming the news through a memo issued to the teams.
SOPs issued by the league became a point of contention last year, forcing several superstars’ absences, including Kyrie Irving, who openly opposed the league’s stance which forced him to miss significant time after refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The league will “strongly suggest” team personnel stay up-to-date with vaccinations, per the memo as the discussions between the league and the NBA Players Association remain ongoing about whether unvaccinated players will be subject to periodic COVID-19 testing during the upcoming season.
Last season the league did not require that all players be vaccinated against COVID-19 but unvaccinated players or players who did not receive a booster dose were subject to certain protocols, such as game-day testing.
Players were also held accountable for mandates from states with their own vaccination requirements like New York, whose team, the Brooklyn Nets, Irving plays for.
Irving’s refusal cost him the first three months of the season and even after returning could only play the away games because of New York’s mandates.
He finally played his first home game on March 27 after the city lifted its vaccine mandates but the Nets were swept by the Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
While a majority of the most stringent COVID-19 rules and mandates have been lifted throughout the United States, Canada still requires all persons entering the country to have been vaccinated against COVID-19 which could prove to be a hurdle for teams playing against the Toronto Raptors.