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A second NBL player has opted to miss the new season due to their stance on COVID-19 vaccination.
Import guard Travis Trice, who previously starred with Cairns and Brisbane before spending time in the NBA G-League and Europe, had signed with the Illawarra Hawks in July for this coming season.
Former Taipan and Bullet Travis Trice has parted ways with the Hawks over his stance on vaccination against COVID-19.Credit:Joshua Paterson
But the team announced on Wednesday that it had parted ways with Trice, a mutual decision because the player did not want to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Earlier this week, New Zealand international Tai Webster left the New Zealand Breakers, taking the same stance against being vaccinated.
Hawks president and co-owner Dorry Kordahi said in a team statement it wouldn’t be possible for the team to carry a player who wasn’t vaccinated as he wouldn’t be able to freely travel between states.
“I know our members and fans were looking forward to watching Travis compete for our club, but sadly, he will not be playing for the Illawarra Hawks this NBL season,” Kordahi said.
“We fully respect Travis’ views and freedom of choice in regards to the vaccine, but being unvaccinated was going to result in numerous challenges, especially as we are still firmly in the midst of the pandemic.
“We wish Travis all the best but have immediately turned our attention to a replacement. We are currently exploring a number of viable options and we hope to have some good news in the coming weeks for our members and fans.”
Sporting clubs around the country are starting to come to grips with the prospect of unvaccinated players being unable to freely travel between states or Australia and New Zealand to play matches.
The NBL is the first Australian league to start facing up to this problem, but other competitions are expected to face apprehension or refusal from some players.
The Women’s National Basketball Association in America has set the example for world sport with a 99 per cent vaccination rate for its current season, which is entering play-offs. The National Football League, which had roughly 10 times more players than the WNBA, has reported a 95 per cent vaccination rate two rounds into its new season.
The A-League has yet to report the release of any players due to being unvaccinated while the matter could come to head in the NRL and AFL once their finals series finish and work begins on finalising playing lists for 2022.
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