NEW YORK (AFP) – National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver said on Monday, October 18 that around 96% of league players were now vaccinated against Covid-19 despite union opposition to a league-wide tenure.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of the new NBA season, which begins on Tuesday, he said the number of vaccinated players has increased and is expected to increase after the start of the season.
“About 96% of our players are vaccinated, and that number will probably increase a bit at the start of the season,” he told reporters.
Vaccination hesitation issues have arisen in preparation for the 2021-2022 season, most notably with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving being effectively sidelined for his refusal to be vaccinated .
A New York City bylaw requires people in indoor public spaces to be vaccinated, which means Irving is unable to play home games for the Nets or train in their home arena. origin.
The Nets later said Irving would not play at home or away until he was vaccinated.
Silver said on Monday he hoped Irving would eventually change his mind about the vaccine – but backed New York regulations that left the player’s career in limbo.
“I hope Kyrie, despite his feelings for the shot, finally decides to get the shot because I would love to see him play basketball this season, and I would love to see the Brooklyn Nets have their full roster on the floor. Said Silver.
When asked if he thought Irving’s situation was right, Silver replied, “I’m not sure justice is the right way to approach it because there is nothing right in it. About this virus.
“It’s indiscriminate in terms of who this impacts, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate that New York City and other cities have passed laws that require people who work and visit arenas to be vaccinated.
“This appears to be a responsible public health decision made by these localities, and these are the circumstances under which the Nets find themselves operating.”
“Best for everyone”
Silver said he was in favor of a league-wide vaccination mandate, which the NBA Players Association opposed but accepted by the NBA Referees Association.
“I would have preferred the players’ association to agree on mandatory vaccinations in the end,” said Silver.
“The union of our officials has accepted mandatory vaccinations despite some opposition from members. But I think in the end we could have avoided much of the adversarial nature of these issues for our players (with a warrant).
“It would have been better for everyone if every player had been vaccinated.”
Silver did not comment when asked if he had discussed Irving’s immunization status directly with the player, noting only that in general, the league had carried out outreach to all players since vaccines have become widely available.
“I would love to see all of our players vaccinated because it’s kind of a public service, especially for young people who might not see the point in getting vaccinated,” Silver said.
“This awareness will continue. We believe that ultimately it helps that players are fully informed. Science is very supportive of immunization, not just for themselves, but for their families and communities.”
However, Silver cautioned that players could not expect to be treated any differently from the general population when it comes to vaccine rules.
“Having an opinion on whether or not to get the shot is different from your right to play NBA basketball,” Silver said.
“And we see that in the New York market right now, where there is a conflict between the player’s point of view and local law, the local law is going to trump that player’s point of view.”
Silver meanwhile said the league is forecasting revenue for the new season of around US $ 10 billion (S $ 13.5 billion) as fans return to the arenas.
The league’s revenue fell to US $ 8.3 billion in the season interrupted by Covid 2019-2020, and was initially expected to decline by 40% in 2021-2022. Silver said on Monday that revenues had fallen by about 35%.
“We have lost significant sums,” he said. “The good news, I think, is that we are able to take a long-term view of this business and continue to grow in it, to continue to invest in it.
“So we’ll try to see it as an ongoing investment in the business over a long period of time, as opposed to the loss of an individual season.”