Report: NBA teams must list unvaxxed players before Canadian border rules change
In advance of Canada's new border rules, which remove national interest exemptions for unvaccinated professional athletes starting Jan. 15, 2022, NBA teams must submit a list of unvaccinated players to the league office by Dec. 10, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Unvaccinated players - purportedly about 3% of the NBA's more than 500 athletes - unable to play road games against the Toronto Raptors will be subject to discipline, including fines and suspensions, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports.
The new border rules will effectively bar unvaccinated NBA players from competing within Canada. However, many of the most prominent vaccine holdouts among the NBA fraternity were already unlikely to play there after Jan. 15 due either to their teams' schedules or coincidental health factors.
While the Denver Nuggets are set to play in Toronto in February, forward Michael Porter Jr. is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery and is reportedly expected to miss the rest of the season.
The Washington Wizards and Bradley Beal already played both of their games in Toronto this season, so the team won't have to travel internationally again until a potential playoff matchup. Ditto for the Dallas Mavericks' Trey Burke, who registered a DNP - coach's decision in Toronto on Oct. 23.
The league's vaccination statistics suggest that around 15 players remain unvaccinated, though only a few have confirmed their status.
Additionally, unvaccinated international players who are working in the U.S. on a temporary P-1A athlete visa will be unable to re-enter the country should they leave, per Wojnarowski. That would, for instance, apply to a player who left the U.S. during the All-Star break.
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