NBA warns of severe punishments for COVID-19 protocol violations

Adam Silver
Photo: AP Photo/Ashley Landis

The NBA has warned teams that violations that lead to COVID-19 spread impacting other teams and causing schedule adjustments could result in “fines, suspensions, adjustment or loss of draft choices and game forfeitures.”

The league made these changes in their updated Health and Safety Protocol.

Teams are “extremely aware” of this and it’s a huge concern, especially with the punishments that have been handed down in the NFL this season, notes Adrian Wojnarowski.

Players who violate the safety protocols could also face in-season quarantine and reduced paychecks, according to ESPN.

The memo sent to teams doesn’t specifically outline the length of quarantine, but it does say that any such player “may be subject to a proportionate adjustment to pay for any games missed during the period that the player is in quarantine and undergoing testing due to engaging in such activities and/or conduct.”

The NBA may also conduct random, unannounced in-person inspections of team facilities to check whether teams are complying with the COVID-19 protocols in place.

The league also detailed plans for when COVID-19 vaccines are FDA-approved and confirmed to be safe and effective.

The NBA and NBPA will decide if players, coaches and staff will be required to receive the vaccine.

If a vaccine ends up not being required, those who elect not to receive it may have additional health and safety-focused restrictions, according to Shams Charania.

For example, people who don’t get the vaccine could have to wear a mask or be tested more frequently than those who do get it.

Teams could even be punished for failing to comply and failing to report any “potential or actual violation and/or any discipline imposed by the team for such violation” with teams also facing further “enhanced discipline” for repeatedly violating the protocols.