Unvaxxed NBA players breaking quarantine rules in Toronto will risk jail time
Unvaccinated NBA players visiting Toronto will have to be extra careful this season, with reports emerging that those who breach their hotel quarantines could face six months in prison and heavy fines.
NBA writer and analyst Shams Charania was the first to break the news on Wednesday evening, tweeting that players have been informed of criminal penalties awaiting anyone who decides to flout Canada's Quarantine Act.
Sources: NBA players were informed unvaccinated players who breach quarantine in Toronto face criminal offense. Unvaccinated players only able to leave hotel for team activities. Per Canada's Quarantine Act, violations could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750K in fines.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 7, 2021
The NBA has issued a report stating that 95 per cent of the league's players have received at least one jab, but there are still some prominent outliers.
Strangely enough, anti-vax and vaccine-hesitant players will still be able to travel to and play games in Toronto; the Canadian government has granted the NBA a "national interest" exemption for unvaccinated players to enter the country. Though that would be where their freedoms end.
Upon entering the country and testing negative for the virus, unvaccinated players will be confined to the team's hotel and Scotiabank Arena. Leaving for anything other than a team event will be considered a criminal offence.
The online reaction to the news has been mixed, with a surprising amount of support for unvaccinated players on Twitter.
Vaccines shouldn’t be forced upon people bruh— Ryan🇺🇸 (@Ryan60242380) October 7, 2021
Perhaps the highest-profile unvaccinated player in the league is Brooklyn Nets' All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. The 2011 1st overall draft pick (originally with the Cleveland Cavaliers) currently can't even play home games due to vaccine policies.
Many took direct aim at Kyrie Irving, who has become somewhat of a poster boy for vaccine hesitancy among NBA players.
Kyrie when he goes to Toronto pic.twitter.com/VLZrm9C4st— 22®️ (@22isthegoat) October 7, 2021
Even slipping up for something simple like a food delivery could cost players like Irving $750,000 in fines. A considerable price for a player who already stands to forfeit $380,000 USD for every home game he is unable to play in due to New York's vaccine mandates.
There seems to be a vocal anti-vax wing in the NBA, including Thornhill's own Andrew Wiggins. Another Cleveland Cavaliers' 1st overall draft pick, Wiggins has been another high-profile player to speak out against vaccinations, though he ultimately relented under pressure from his current team, the Golden State Warriors.
Andrew Wiggins when asked if he feels good about being vaccinated to play: “It’s not something that I wanted to do. I was kind of forced to.” pic.twitter.com/HKbvwICJUR— An0maly (@LegendaryEnergy) October 5, 2021
If two anti-vax 1st overall picks by the Cleveland Cavaliers weren't enough to produce a pattern, how about three?
NBA legend and future hall-of-famer LeBron James (drafted by the Cavs at #1 in 2003) has been dribbling around the vaccine question for months now, and only recently confirmed he was vaccinated.
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