Unvaccinated NBA players who break quarantine in Toronto may be subject to face criminal charges, including prison time and fines.
In 2020, when the NBA resumed the season in the bubble, the proposed punishment for leaving the bubble was a mandated quarantine, more rigid COVID testing and a deduction in pay for any games missed. About a year later, with all teams finally back home, COVID regulations and restrictions vary per city and for the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.
Toronto is the last city to get its team home. The Raptors played in Tampa Bay last season but have finally been welcomed back in Canada, where they’ll play all their home games this season. However, Canada maintains serious COVID restrictions, and NBA players recently received a memo about the potential consequences of breaching those rules.
What is the punishment for unvaccinated players leaving their hotels?
As reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, if an unvaccinated NBA player is found leaving quarantine in Toronto, he may subject himself to criminal charges of up to six months in jail and/or $750,000 in fines, per Canada’s Quarantine Act.
This means that all unvaccinated players are to be relegated to the confines of their hotel rooms except for team-related activities. It’s reminiscent of the early bubble days last year but the stakes were not as high as now. Canada is not playing about this and neither should the players be.
According to a recent ESPN report, 95 percent of the league is vaccinated, leaving only a small number of potential offenders to this rule. But lacking the judgment to break this rule, especially in another country, is an offense that the NBA won’t be able to overlook. If a player is found leaving their hotel, said player might be in jeopardy of receiving additional punishment from their team and the league.