NBA denies Wiggins' request for religious exemption from vaccine requirement

Golden State Warriors guard Andrew Wiggins (22) dribbles the ball up the court against the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Editor's note: With overwhelming consistency, research has shown vaccinations against COVID-19 are safe and effective. Residents of Canada who are looking to learn more about vaccines, or the country's pandemic response, can find up-to-date information on Canada's public health website.


The NBA has denied Andrew Wiggins' request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s vaccination requirements, rendering him unable to play in Golden State Warriors home games until he is vaccinated.

In San Francisco, where the Warriors play, everyone 12 years or older — including performers and players — must be vaccinated to attend large and mega indoor events.

There is no religious exemption for large indoor events, like NBA games, in San Francisco's policy. The San Francisco Department of Public Health told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week it would not comment specifically on Wiggins’ case, but noted that the league's decision would not negate public health policy, a clarification that stems from the NBA being a private entity with no legal authority to overrule municipal rules.

The substance of Wiggins' exemption request was not disclosed by the league, nor has he publicly commented on it at this time.

Wiggins, from Vaughan, Ont., averaged 18.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 71 games with the Warriors last season before playing for Canada in its failed bid to qualify for the Olympics at a tournament in Victoria.

Players who have not been vaccinated are allowed to play this season, but will be tested daily on practice and travel days and at least once -- possibly more -- on game days. Fully vaccinated players will not be subject to daily testing.

Several teams, including those based in New York and the Warriors, face stricter rules because of local regulations like San Francisco's.

The NBA struck agreements this off-season to have virtually all parties involved in games -- referees, coaches, stat-crew workers and anyone else who will be in close proximity to players on or off the court in NBA arenas -- vaccinated in order to participate.

The one exception: The players themselves, with the National Basketball Players Association rebuking all efforts from the NBA to mandate that they be vaccinated. About 85 per cent of players were vaccinated at the end of last season. The leaguewide figure is believed to have increased since.

-- Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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