When the new NBA season begins October 19, players will not have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to play, a source with knowledge of negotiations between the league and the players’ union told CNN on Tuesday.
The source told CNN that unless something completely unforeseen happens during the talks over health and safety protocols, mandated Covid-19 vaccinations will not happen.
ESPN was the first to report on this development.
CNN has reached out to the NBA and the union, the National Basketball Players Association, for comment but has not heard back.
No major professional sports league in the United States has required its players to be vaccinated.
But the NBA, like other professional sports leagues, has required coaches, game-day personnel and referees to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
According to the source, approximately 85% of the players in the 30-team league are fully vaccinated. Each team can have 15 players on its roster during the regular season.
Earlier this month, the NBA warned three teams, the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors, that Covid-19 policies set by local governments will prohibit any unvaccinated player from playing in home games in New York City and San Francisco.
The policies do not impact players from visiting teams who play games in those two cities.
The NBA arenas impacted by the protocols are Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center in New York and the Chase Center in San Francisco.
NBA training camps start on September 28 and the first preseason game is October 3.
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