The coronavirus has marked the global agenda for the past two years. Also sports. And of course, of an NBA that has not been freed from the drastic influence that the pandemic has had on daily life, social relations or entertainment. Adam Silver, a man with a magnetic speech and a gifted mind, has managed to avoid the total stoppage and has allowed everything to run its course, first with the Orlando bubble and then with a season in which he has circumvented the Association’s requests of Players around the calendar and freedom of movement, and has managed to keep the competition running on a sporting and economic level, profiting from the accumulation of parties and losses that have not been so great thanks to the fact that there has not been a blank year. Nor, of course, without a winner.
The last basketball course had two well differentiated parts, since the final part, with a large part of the population vaccinated, was similar to that normality that everyone longs for. The public, without being 100%, was noticed in a vibrant Finals and that they remembered more to those of before than to those of the bubble, and everything continued its course with a season marked by injuries, but with a winner, the Bucks, which was that of resilience, epic and counterculture. And now, at the gates of a new campaign that is already underway at the media level, new protocols continue to be negotiated that will include, of course, only vaccinated players.
It is the measure that is going to be taken to fight against all the kernel that has been formed around anti-vaccines, protagonists in the Media Day (to which they have not been able to attend because they do not have the complete schedule) and in the days leading up to those interviews that put the players in full view of the world. Kyrie Irving has not gone there, once again a protagonist for things unrelated to sports and one of the leaders of that current contrary to vaccines that the NBA has not been able to control or manage. In the last days, the North American competition has given too much voice to a dangerous idea, the one that opposes vaccination, which has wreaked havoc. And all, in a world with millions of fans and enormous influence at the national and international level. A confusing situation that vaccinated players have tried to amend by positioning themselves, of course, in favor of vaccination.
Some of the journalists who cover the NBA have given various information about what the new protocols will be like. Tim Bontemps, in a lengthy ESPN article, has revealed that players with the complete vaccination schedule will have everything easier: they will not have to undergo daily tests, they will only go through them if they have symptoms or have close contacts, they will enjoy greater freedom of movement and, in short, they will normal life. Something that is becoming more and more common in the United States, which will have almost full capacity in sport and a growing sense of normality, ranging from players, to coaches and field staff. Also, unless there are exceptional circumstances, there will be no quarantines for close contacts.
Yes indeed, the unvaccinated will have practically the same restrictions as when the vaccine did not exist. They will stay in their residences during home games until the time of the match and in the hotel in those outside, they will not be able to dine in closed enclosures with vaccinated players, they will not be able to go to clubs or events, large meetings or places of entertainment. That is, the same conditions that last year there were for everyone, this year there will be exclusively for the unvaccinated. A measure that the NBA takes to force total vaccination (the vast majority have the complete guideline) and silence the minority, but noisy voices, who position themselves against it. For now, the protocols are known. Whether or not they serve to provoke a reaction in the anti-vaccines, we will see.
NBA’s 65-page health and safety protocols for ’21 -22 include restrictions on non-fully-vaccinated players, such as:
No dining indoors in same room as other player, 6 feet of distance in team meeting, distant locker, remain at residence or hotel, prohibited from public venues.
– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 28, 2021