The vast majority of NHL and NBA players are vaccinated, but anti-vaccines are the loudest voices
With training camps for the next NHL and NBA seasons now underway, league vaccination policies are being put to the test. Neither has ordered their players to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but both leagues are trying to push the unvaccinated towards the needle by making life more difficult for those who choose not to. not get vaccinated.In the NHL, teams would be allowed to suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in games or training due to COVID-19 protocols. Non-vaxxers will also not be allowed to roam freely on road trips, which could separate them from their teammates for things like team dinners and other social outings.
The NBA would have liked to go further by making vaccinations mandatory for all players – as they are for most staff and all referees. But the players’ union blocked the move, in part thanks to objections from a vocal minority of non-vaxxed and / or anti-vax members. Rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players are still being worked out, but it is anticipated that the unvaccinated will undergo more testing and will be asked (although probably not required) to sit in separate areas. in the locker rooms and during team meetings, meals and travel.
For the most part, this approach seems to work. The current vaccination rate in the NHL and NBA is estimated to be around 90 percent, which means that about one or two players per team, on average, have not taken the needle. The NHL says it will hit at least 98% by opening night, which would leave just 15 players in the entire league (about one for two teams) without a fail. By comparison, about 80 percent of eligible Canadians are now fully vaxxed.
However, it is the anti-vaccines that are in the news right now. While no NHL star has publicly refused the vaccine (Detroit forward Tyler Bertuzzi and New Jersey goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood are the most prominent right now), a few big names in the NBA are vocally anti. -vax. Most prominent is Brooklyn Nets star and self-proclaimed Free Thinker Kyrie Irving who thinks the earth is flat and also wonders about dinosaurs. As stated in a recent Rolling stone story, his latest quest for knowledge was to like the Instagram posts of a conspiracy theorist who claims “secret societies” are behind the COVID-19 vaccine. Sports reporter Howard Bryant had a big line about Irving the other day: he’s “a nonconformist without a cause.”
Either way, Irving’s vaccination position is now put to the test after New York City passed a law requiring professional athletes to prove they have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. in order to play indoors, unless they have a medical certificate or religious exemption. That would prevent Irving from playing in Brooklyn home games, and yesterday that meant he couldn’t attend the start of Nets training camp, which was also media day. Speaking to reporters on a Zoom call, Irving dodged questions about his hesitation about the vaccine, asking everyone to “just respect my privacy.” It should also be noted that Irving sits on the executive committee of the players’ union.
Meanwhile, Canadian Andrew Wiggins has placed himself in the same situation. Its Golden State Warriors play their home games in San Francisco, which has passed legislation similar to New York’s. Wiggins tried to get around it by asking for a religious exemption, but the city removed that provision on Friday, giving the NBA the cover of denying his request. Like Irving, Wiggins doesn’t seem daunted by the prospect of missing games. “I will continue to fight for what I think is right,” he said on Golden State media day. When asked what exactly these beliefs were, he replied, “It’s none of your business. “
As for Canada’s only NBA franchise, the Toronto Raptors are at a dose of being completely vaxxed, according to general manager Bobby Webster, and will be on opening night on October 20. Under the terms of the Raptors’ agreement with the Canadian government, unvaccinated players will be allowed into Toronto for games, but will be subject to testing and limited to their team’s arena and hotel. The Nets are in town on November 7, the Warriors on December 18. If Irving and / or Wiggins haven’t changed course by then, you know what the hot topic will be around these games.
The Blue Jays kick off their final week of the regular season with a big streak against the Yankees. After a disappointing division of a four-game series at Minnesota, Toronto finds itself two games behind New York and one game behind Boston in the American League wildcard two-seat race. Seattle is only half a game away from the Jays. Toronto’s last six games are at home (the last three against the Comedic Orioles), where the Ontario government now allows a capacity of 30,000 – double what it was for the last game at the Dome . Hyun Jin Ryu slips off the injured list (neck strained) to start for the Jays tonight against dual Canada-U.S. Citizen Jameson Taillon.
The Canadian Women’s Basketball Team is looking for a new Head Coach. Lisa Thomaidis and Canada Basketball have “mutually agreed to go their separate ways,” the organization announced today. Thomaidis, whose contract expires in a few days, was at the helm for a disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics. Despite being ranked fourth in the world, Canada got a brace and failed to make it through the group stage. Thomaidis also guided Canada to the 2016 Olympics, where they lost in the quarterfinals. Learn more about his tenure here.
The WNBA semifinals begin tonight. One of the three Canadian players in the league is still alive. Goalkeeper Kia Nurse and No.5 seed Phoenix Mercury won back-to-back knockout games against New York and defending champion Seattle to advance to a best-of-five series against No.2 Las Vegas, starting tonight. at 10 p.m. ET. Nurse started both wins and averaged 10 points, five rebounds and one assist. The other semifinal, which opens tonight at 8 p.m. ET, will pit new WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones against the Connecticut favorite at No.6 Chicago. Connecticut and Las Vegas both had a pass for the first two rounds.
Happy 49th birthday to this:
You are aware. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.