Why N.B.A. Referees Agreed to a Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

The president of the referees’ union said “this innovative vaccine” allows refs to keep working. Other leagues do not have similar agreements with their officials.

Late last month, the N.B.A. sent out a short news release announcing an agreement with the union representing the league’s referees to mandate Covid-19 vaccines. It stipulated that all referees must to be fully vaccinated to work games, including “recommended boosters.”

Otherwise, the statement said, referees couldn’t work.

The announcement came after a tumultuous N.B.A. season in which several referees had to miss games because they had been in contact with someone who had tested positive, sometimes forcing the league to call up G League officials to

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