The NBPA has offered their support for Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, and all other players from around the league that are standing against the COVID-19 vaccine. NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts has sounded off on reports that the Players Association is getting behind the NBA’s decision to withhold pay from players who miss games because of their vaccination status.
A spokesperson for the NBA recently stated that players will not be paid for missed games if they are unable to comply with local vaccination mandates. In her recent statement, Roberts made it abundantly clear that the NBPA is NOT supporting this stance:
“They’ve been reporting that we’ve agreed that if a player who was not able to play because of his non-vaccination status, they could be docked [pay],” Roberts said, via Stefan Bondy of the Daily News. “We did not agree. The league’s position is that they can. We’ll see. If we get to that point, we’ll see.
“Our position is no [the league cannot punish a player for being unvaccinated]. The league’s position is that we don’t need your agreement because the CBA allows that anyway.”
For his part, Kyrie Irving has already missed at least one practice session for the Brooklyn Nets because of his vaccination status. If he remains unvaccinated, he could also end up being banned from playing in homes games due to New York’s mandate on the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the NBPA is taking a pro-choice stance in supporting players like Irving, Roberts also stated that the greater majority of the union believes in the benefits of the vaccine:
“We were against mandatory vaccination because the union’s membership appreciated that, given all the information, that players would make the best decision for them,” Roberts said. “And 95/96% said, ‘I want to be vaccinated.’ We’re still working towards 100%.
“But the members voted that it would not be mandatory. Now we’re feeling pretty good about the safety of the vaccine, but there was a time when many people, including myself, were skeptical. And people make fun of the players who say they want to do my research. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what I expect anyone would do. We’re doing a lot better than anybody else in this country. So I reject any criticism. We’re doing better than companies who are mandatory vaccinations because we’re at 95-96%. One-hundred percent is still an aspiration.”
As Roberts said, the NBPA is working hard to try and get to a hundred percent vaccination rate for the players. It is clear that they fully support the administration of the vaccine. What they are rejecting, however, is forcing the players to get vaccinated against their will.