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Clippers are fully vaccinated, coach Tyronn Lue says

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer (unmasked) and head coach Tyronn Lue (masked) sit next to each other.
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, left, and owner Steve Ballme attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the team’s future home, the Intuit Dome, on Sept. 17 in Inglewood.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

The Clippers are fully vaccinated, coach Tyronn Lue said Wednesday.

“Our guys are vaccinated, so, we just have to do whatever the league tells us to do, we try to abide by the rules and kind of go from there,” Lue said at San Diego State, where the Clippers are holding training camp. “And we talked about it last year, just being able to adapt and do what we need to do to play the game that we love. And so, certain players, certain people have different beliefs, so I respect those beliefs. And our guys are fully vaccinated, so I respect their beliefs as well.”

Asked again whether the Clippers are fully vaccinated, Lue answered, “yes.”

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The declaration was a reversal from the way team leaders had handled questions when asked in recent days about the team’s vaccination status. President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank on Friday said that he is a “huge advocate of the vaccinations” and that the team had educated members of the organization on the science behind vaccinations against COVID-19.

“But in regards to speaking on behalf of players or staff,” he added,” I’m not comfortable sharing that type of information other than personally what my beliefs are.”

NBA stars like Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins have resisted getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which is a problem for the league and its teams.

Likewise, owner Steve Ballmer on Monday demurred when asked about the team’s status and wouldn’t offer a prediction whether the team would be fully vaccinated by the Oct. 21 season opener in San Francisco against Golden State. Those stances stood in contrast from the way other teams across the NBA had openly discussed their rosters’ status, with some executives even detailing the number of players who had yet to receive a shot.

San Francisco and New York City have instituted mandates requiring that players on teams in those cities — the Warriors, Knicks and Nets — must be vaccinated in order to play in their home city. But visiting teams are exempt, meaning an unvaccinated opposing player, for example, could play at San Francisco’s Chase Center but not an unvaccinated Warrior such as Andrew Wiggins, who on Monday defended his decision even if it costs him financially. Players who do not comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games missed, the NBA announced Wednesday.

NBA training camps opened Monday with media day, and a big topic of conversation was unvaccinated players. Here’s what you need to know on the subject.

The NBA’s referees union has agreed to a vaccine mandate among its members and all league and team personnel who come within 15 feet of players must be fully vaccinated, unless a religious or medical exemption is granted. The players’ union has said that 90% of players are vaccinated but has not agreed to a mandate. Still, updated health and safety protocols governing the upcoming season — agreed upon between the league and players’ union and sent to teams Tuesday — highly incentivize being vaccinated.

Unvaccinated players must undergo regular testing, cannot eat indoors with fully vaccinated teammates nor attend restaurants, bars, clubs or other high-risk settings and must be given lockers as distant as possible for other players, among other restrictions.


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