Report: Unvaccinated Players Could Face NBA Fine Or Suspension For Missing Games In Toronto

As of January 15th, the Canadian government will not be allowing any player who is not fully vaccinated to enter the country to play games against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. 

Today, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the NBA has informed teams that any player who does miss a game in Toronto due to this mandate will lose game pay, and may be subject to a fine, suspension or other actions. 

With 97% of the league's players vaccinated, that leaves only between 10-15 players that this could impact, and even fewer, given what we know about the few who have gone public with their vaccine denial.

Bradley Beal, who has refused to get vaccinated, is off the hook, as the Washington Wizards have already made their two regular-season visits to Toronto. A playoff match-up, however unlikely, could make things interesting, though.

Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic is, similarly, clear of this mandate, as his team has also already had its two games in Toronto. And there's not much worry about a playoff matchup in this case. 

Michael Porter Jr. of the Houston Rockets, another vaccine-hesitant player, is out for the year due to back surgery, so he also won't be impacted by this. 

And then there's Kyrie Irving... The Brooklyn Nets have banned him from playing this season altogether, as the New York City vaccine mandate already precludes him from participating in their home games. But if something changes, either in NYC's mandate, or in the Nets' decision, they are visiting Toronto on March 1st, which would make Irving ineligible for that game. 

Meanwhile, as the virus is soaring around the country once again, another new league mandate will affect large numbers of players: Starting Dec. 17th, any players who haven't received their booster (3rd vaccine) will be subject to game-day testing. 

And any team staff who have not had their 3rd dose will no longer be able to interact with players or travel with their team.

Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports