Camaraderie is kind of a big deal in professional sports and is often cited as one of the most important ingredients to establishing a championship culture. There have been countless stories about how bonding off the court has produced results on it, but that entire dynamic could take a major hit due to new COVID-19 protocols that have been proposed by the NBA.
We previously reported at The Root that unvaccinated players that play for the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, and Brooklyn Nets could be prohibited from playing in home games should they refuse to get vaccinated, and now ESPN reports that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Aside from undergoing testing up to twice a day on game days and being forced to enter a mandatory seven-day quarantine should they come in close contact with anyone who has tested positive, there are also these stipulations:
At team meals, the memo calls for unvaccinated players to not sit next to vaccinated teammates and to be at least six feet away from others. The same rules apply for team meetings.
On flights, the memo says unvaccinated players may be required to be in a section of the plane reserved for team staffers, which could mean less-roomy seating. On buses, unvaccinated players would have to sit away from other players or in a separate bus from vaccinated players.
There will also be an unspecified amount of space that will be required between unvaccinated players and their Pfizer-endorsed teammates in the locker room. This basically means that players will be treated like ex-girlfriends all season until they come to their senses and just take the damn vaccine.
While the rules aren’t final and are still being ironed out between the league and the National Basketball Players Association, it’s abundantly clear that vaccinated and unvaccinated players might as well be playing for two different teams this season if these guidelines become official.