Last week, the NBA rejected Golden State Warriors small forward Andrew Wiggins‘ request for vaccine exemption — a decision that means the Canadian will not be permitted to play any home games under San Francisco’s comprehensive mandatory vaccine protocol should he be unvaccinated.
Asked about his vaccination stance during Monday’s media availability, Wiggins repeatedly declined to comment, expressing his desire to keep his decision private and citing personal reasons. He told reporters he feels his “back is against the wall.”
“I’m confident in my beliefs and what I think is right, what I think is wrong,” he said.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health requires all people 12 and older be fully vaccinated in order to participate in any large public indoor events. It’s a measure also taken by New York City in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19 amidst a devastating fourth wave.
A decision not to be vaccinated would render Wiggins ineligible to play in more than half of this season’s games for the Warriors — in addition to all Warriors home games, the native of Vaughan, Ont., also will be barred from playing at the Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets) and Madison Square Garden (home of the New York Knicks).
Asked whether he feels he’ll be able to participate in team practice on Tuesday, Wiggins said he was taking things one day at a time.
Unvaccinated players will be eligible to play in Toronto under a National Interest Exemption, meaning they will be restricted to Scotiabank Arena and the team hotel, and will have to pass COVID-19 test when they arrive in Canada.
As reported by the Associated Press earlier this month, the league said about 85 per cent of its players were vaccinated by the end of last season.
Asked about Wiggins during their own availabilities, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers kept their answers short:
“I haven’t spent any time thinking about that. Nor will I,” Kerr told reporters on Monday. “We’ll just see how everything plays out. We’re hopeful that it all gets resolved over the next couple of weeks. We’re going into camp tomorrow with a plan to have everybody out on the floor and ready to roll.”
Myers said he would not comment on particular players’ vaccination status, but expressed optimism.