As things currently stand, nothing changes on Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. That means players and staff who’ll be visiting the Toronto Raptors this 2022-23 NBA season must be vaccinated in order to enter the nation.
There are still exceptions to the rule, but it should be for a valid medical reason. Not to mention that it’s up to Canada to decide what’s valid or not. With that said, unvaccinated NBA players will be denied entry and cannot play against the Raptors.
“Sources: NBA informed teams via memo today that, as it stands, non-vaccinated NBA players without a valid medical reason will still be ineligible to play in Toronto for the 2022-23 season,” Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report writes on Twitter.
The NBA won’t have COVID-19 protocols in place for 2022-23, but despite that, they can’t stop Canada from instituting their own COV ID-19 mandate. Even MLB players visiting the Toronto Blue Jays have to be vaccinated, with unvaccinated individuals opting to sit out their games in Toronto.
In the NBA, there are a number of prominent individuals who are still unvaccinated, headlined by Kyrie Irving who sat out a majority of the 2021-22 campaign because of his vaccine stance. He was previously unable to play at home as well because of New York’s vaccine mandate. There is also the likes of Matisse Thybulle and Michael Porter Jr. who previously refused to get the vaccine.
It remains to be seen how NBA teams will address the mandate, especially those with unvaccinated players on their roster. Perhaps a lot are hoping that the vaccine requirements will be lifted, though that might be too big of an ask since Canada has really been cautious of the virus and the threat it brings.