The NBA has refused a request made by Andrew Wiggins, a 26-year-old Warriors’ forward, to get a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine. He can’t play home games until he follows a San Francisco order requiring everyone 12 and older to be vaccinated to attend big indoor events, according to an NBA statement.
The NBA reportedly doesn’t require COVID vaccination for players, but they are subject to local arena requirements in places such as San Francisco. “I’m not getting it, but it’s no knock on anyone else that’s getting it. I make my own decisions,” Wiggins said back in March. But the San Francisco Department of Public Health told SFGATE Friday that unvaccinated people 12 and over can’t partake in large indoor events “regardless of the reason” — and that includes “players employed by the host.” The NBA says Wiggins has to follow the city’s rules.
If Wiggins stays unvaccinated, “he will miss all 41 Warriors home games” but will “be allowed to play in all road games,” NBC Sports noted. Visiting unvaccinated players can play in San Francisco but are subject to other requirements, such as a recent negative COVID test.
In March, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that he believed “most players ultimately will choose to get vaccinated.” The NBA noted that about 85 percent of players were vaccinated in a New York Times report earlier this month. In rather unsurprising news, the WNBA boasted a 99-percent vaccination rate in June.
As COVID-19 continues to claim lives, a vaccine remains the best defense against serious illness and death. Religious exemptions are being wielded by people resistant to vaccination, even as major religious denominations support COVID vaccines, the New York Times reported this month. Convincing those who are opposed to inoculation remains a formidable challenge for public health authorities.
The Warriors had recently put Wiggins in touch with a doctor who “explained the suffering and deaths she has witnessed in patients who contracted the coronavirus,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this week.
But Wiggins was “unmoved in his decision against vaccination,”
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