NBA players could face charges for COVID breaches in Toronto

NBA players that are unvaccinated could face criminal charges if they breach quarantine while in Toronto, according to The Athletic.

Per Canada’s Quarantine Act, violations could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

Unvaccinated players reportedly are only able to leave their hotel for team activities in Toronto, where teams travel to play the Raptors.

According to the NBA’s health and safety protocols for the 2021-22 season, players are required to pass a PCR test — regardless of vaccination status — before traveling to Toronto.

The new report came amid a divide over vaccination status among NBA players. Some players, including LeBron James, Draymond Green and Chris Paul, have said they believe it is a personal choice to receive a vaccine against COVID-19. Others, such as Kyrie Irving, Michael Porter Jr. and Jonathan Isaac, have expressed they are not vaccinated.

Last week, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass reported that players who elect not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for the games they miss.

Kyrie Irving has yet to get vaccinated, putting his status for 2021-22 home games in doubt.
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The rule could specifically target the Nets, if Irving decides not to receive the vaccine before the season begins. New York’s COVID protocol requires players to have at least one dose of the vaccine. Players in New York are unable to practice and play at home if unvaccinated.

A similar mandate was put in place in San Francisco, where the Warriors play. Andrew Wiggins, who was denied a religious exemption from the vaccine by the NBA, recently confirmed he got vaccinated to play.

According to the NBA, 95% of its players have been vaccinated.

The Raptors were granted access by the Canadian government to return to their home court in Toronto after playing in Tampa last season due to the pandemic.

The Raptors held their first home preseason against the Sixers on Oct. 4 — after last playing at home in Feb. 2019.

Toronto hosts Washington in its first regular season game on Oct. 20.


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