The Golden State Warriors starting favorite Andrew Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 jab was denied on Friday by the NBA, disqualifying him from playing home games in San Francisco’s Chase Center unless he rolls up his sleeve for the vaccine.
Although players on visiting teams are not required to have submitted themselves to the poke, the small forward’s vaccination status will make him ineligible to play in around 41 home games and two away games against the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks where similar draconian inoculation requirements are in place.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health’s 28-page mandate, which ironically claims to “encourage” vaccines in its title, includes a strict requirement that began August 20 for events of 1,000 or greater to require full proof of vaccination for attendees age 12 and over. Staff for such events is required to provide proof of full vaccination starting October 13, according to an event requirement summary chart provided by the northern California health department.
“The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all participants age 12 and older at large indoor events,” the NBA wrote in a statement.
The NBA has announced the following: pic.twitter.com/6t1spKMU35
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) September 24, 2021
Although they previously declined to comment on the situation until the NBA issued a religious exemption, The San Francisco Department of Public Health explained the requirement in a statement.
“At large and mega indoor events, all patrons 12 and older must be vaccinated at this time,” the statement to SF Gate read. “Under the current order, if unvaccinated, they cannot enter indoor areas regardless of the reason they are unvaccinated and cannot test out of this requirement even if they have a medical or religious exemption. This same rule applies to performers and players employed by the host at large and mega indoor events who are covered by the vaccination requirements of the Health Order.”
Many suggested that the announcement should result in an immediate trade to reduce the liability to the team.
“[The Warriors] should trade Andrew Wiggins today! Period. Get rid of him.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 23, 2021
However, many understand that even submitting a request for a religious exemption is tacit approval that others have authority over your private health care decisions and comments argued for his freedom of religion while others simply lamented the loss of the former freedom.
That’s one of the most insensitive takes I’ve ever heard. We dont know why the man refused the vaccine. Anyone ever use Zantac or J&J baby powder? Didn’t know they caused cancer at the time did we? Let people do what’s best for them & their families w/o judging and shaming.
— greg king (@KingGreg65) September 23, 2021
Freedom of religion used to be a thing
— The Diamond Crew Podcast (@baller0213) September 25, 2021
Many others focused on the financial incentive for Wiggins to get the shot and felt that his high salary was justification enough.
S/O to Andrew Wiggins
He could lose about $15M if he doesn’t take the vaccine
I don’t believe in anything that much. I might even try some Heroin for $15M.
— Barflaan Tedoe 🇱🇷 (@The_Barftender) September 25, 2021
But one comment stood out amongst the others, and essentially questioned the rationale behind the entire Covid debacle.
1. If this is about safety, why are un-vaccinated visiting players allowed to play in SF?
2. If everyone else got the poison shot, aren’t they super safe already? So why does it matter if he does?
3. If @KingJames actually stood up, would the NBA decision this the same?
— GiantFinDubs (@iamlomaverde) September 25, 2021
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