Sports

NBL star loses contract due to COVID anti-vaccination stance

NBL star Tai Webster has been released from his New Zealand Breakers contract because of his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Webster enjoyed a breakout campaign last season and signed a new two-year deal with the Breakers in July.

However, the 26-year-old’s anti-vax stance will limit his ability to play basketball and travel freely within Australia under restrictions to be imposed by state governments.

The Breakers are likely to begin the 2021-22 NBL season based in Australia because of international travel restrictions.

“Tai was amazing for us last year and we wish him the absolute best,” Breakers owner Matt Walsh said.

“I fully support each player’s freedom of choice in regards to the vaccine.

Webster’s older brother and fellow former Breakers star, Corey, faced a backlash last month after incorrectly claiming the Pfizer vaccine killed nearly as many people as the virus.

Corey Webster made the false claim on social media a few days after he left the Breakers by mutual consent with two years left on his contract.

Tai Webster’s excellent season led to a new two-year contract in July — but two months later he and the Breakers have parted ways.(

Getty Images: Mead Norton

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Earlier this month, NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said the league would not mandate vaccinations for players or staff, but would “continue to educate our people and will strongly recommend it”.

“It may be that those who don’t get vaccinated won’t be able to travel between states and countries, or even enter certain venues, and therefore won’t be able to participate in some games when the season begins,” Loeliger said.

“Individuals that decide not to get vaccinated could be subjected to different rules depending on various government protocols and restrictions.”

The NBL season is scheduled to begin on November 18.

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