In the wake of a report last week from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps indicating that the Celtics and Sixers might have unvaccinated players, Bontemps asked Jaylen Brown about his COVID-19 vaccination status and Brown refused to comment, saying he wouldn’t speak about his or anyone else’s status when it came to the vaccine (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe).
“Last year I missed the playoffs. This year, from a competitive standpoint, I’m excited and ready to play against anybody. As a vice president of the players association, it’s a part of my job description to protect our players’ rights and our medical privacy. So you won’t hear me commenting on my status or anybody else’s.”
This is notable because on January 15, Canada implemented a rule barring unvaccinated players from entering the country. If the Celtics face the Raptors in the playoffs, any Boston players who haven’t been vaccinated would be ineligible to cross the border to play in Toronto.
Last Monday, Boston kept four players out of action in its first game at Toronto since the new rule was implemented. It was the second night of a back-to-back, so their absences could have been unrelated to the border restrictions. The four were Robert Williams, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Brown.
Sources told Bontemps that Williams has received the vaccine, Horford later stated that he’d be “ready to play wherever,” and Tatum said on media day that he was vaccinated, but he defended people who chose not to be. Brown made a similar statement, saying the vaccine is a matter of choice.
The Celtics blew out the Wizards on Sunday afternoon by a score of 144-102, with Brown putting up 32 points (on 12-of-17 shooting), seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 29 minutes. With Boston’s victory and Milwaukee falling to Dallas, the Celtics moved into second place in the East with a 49-30 record.
Boston closes its schedule with three road games against Chicago, Milwaukee and Memphis, so they won’t play in Toronto again unless the two teams meet in the playoffs. The Raptors are currently the fifth seed in the East with a 45-32 record.