From Where We Are

No Shot, No Pay

Students weigh in on NBA vaccine requirements

sports, column

Unvaccinated celebrities have been a hot topic in the news this year. In professional basketball, multiple big stars have refused to get the shot. The NBA announced a new policy on this. Aedan Henry has the story.

NBA players who miss games because they are unvaccinated will not be paid for those absences, according to a new announcement from the league.

Over 90% of NBA players are vaccinated. But multiple high-profile stars are holding out, including Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.

The NBA does not mandate vaccinations for its players. But local health codes may prevent unvaccinated players from participating in certain games. For example, Irving would be blocked from playing home games under New York’s current laws. And he would lose over three hundred thousand dollars per game missed.

These players argue that vaccinations are a personal choice, but others say that public figures have a responsibility to set an example and keep the people around them safe. Requiring vaccinations has proven controversial…even among USC students.

Ryland Chase is a civil engineering major at USC. He isn’t sure about vaccine mandates in the NBA:

[00:00:39] I am very pro-vaccination. I just think it’s risky to mandate vaccines for anyone. [00:00:45][5.2]

Diego Ramos is a journalism major. He thinks that public figures should be responsible and get vaccinated, but he sees why some players would be hesitant:

[00:00:18] I do understand some of the arguments of some of the players that, you know, for personal reasons. And you know this, this happens, you know, for any kind of institution, even here. You know, you have medical religious exemptions or whatever. And uh, I think those should be considered, too. [00:00:56]

But other students have different views. Theater major Ben Larson would support a vaccine mandate:

[00:01:41] I mean, the players are traveling a lot. They’re going all over the country all the time. They’re going to be exposed to a lot of people as well. And so just for those people as well as themselves, it’s the smarter thing to do. Although I don’t necessarily know that that extreme of a measure needs to be taken because it seems to me they’ve been encouraged due to other regulations. [00:02:02][21.9]

Regulations such as withholding pay. The civil engineering major Ryland Chase agrees with this new policy:

[00:00:54] I mean, if you’re putting other people at risk by not getting vaccinated and you’re not allowed to come to work, you shouldn’t get paid for work. [00:00:54][0.0]

This new NBA policy seems to already be having an effect. Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors was a high profile vaccine holdout. But just this week he got the shot after the pay cut announcement came out. It’s unclear how many others will follow.

But for Angelinos, there’s good news: The Lakers and the Clippers have already announced that their rosters are fully vaccinated.

For Annenberg Media, I’m Aedan Henry.