Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has taken a COVID-19 vaccine and will now be able to play in home games after he risked losing $8.9 million in pay over a San Francisco mandate.
The team’s head coach, Steve Kerr, told reporters on Sunday after practice as the squad got ready to travel to Portland for their first preseason game.
Wiggins was facing the prospect of not being allowed to enter the team’s building at Chase Center for games beginning Oct. 13, the date when San Francisco public health authorities will begin requiring vaccine proof before people are allowed to enter large indoor venues.
According to the mandate, anyone 12 and over must be vaccinated to enter those venues. As for NBA games, the rule applies to Golden State players but not visiting players, Yahoo Sports reported.
The NBA said last week any player who missed games because of local COVID vaccine mandates in San Fran and New York would forfeit their salaries. Bobby Marks, ESPN salary cap expert and former Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager estimated that Wiggins would lose nearly $9 million.
Wiggins had pushed back on getting the vaccine and during Monday’s media day said he planned to stick to his core beliefs regarding the shot. However, he told reporters, “my back is definitely against the wall, but I’m just going to keep fighting for what I believe. I’m going to keep fighting for what I believe is right. What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other and vice versa.”
“I’m just going to keep all that private right now. … Anything that has to do with my status, vaccination, I’m going to keep it personal, private,” he added.
Wiggins had applied for a religious exemption with the league but it was denied, the Daily Mail reported. When asked what those beliefs are, Wiggins pushed back.
“‘It’s none of your business, that’s what it comes down to,” he said. “It’s my problem, not yours.”
The forward’s vaccine status became a hot topic in NBA circles this preseason and was thrust into the headlines last week after teammate Draymond Green refused publicly to pressure Wiggins to take the vaccine.
Green said that Wiggins was making a personal decision regarding his own health and that it’s not his place to pressure anyone to take the jab.
Draymond Green with the best covid statement I’ve seen since March 2020. Listen:
— Gary Sheffield Jr. (@GarysheffieldJr) October 1, 2021
“When you are talking about vaccinated and non-vaccinated, I think it’s become very political,” Green, who has been vaccinated, said. “When you make something so political and not everyone is into politics, then you can also turn those people off.
“I think there is something to be said for some people’s concern for something that’s being pressed so hard. Like, ‘Why are you pressing this so hard? So much, just pressing and pressing and pressing,'” he said.
“You have to honor people’s feelings and their own personal beliefs, and I think that’s been lost when it comes to vaccinated and non-vaccinated. And it kinda sucks that that’s been lost,” he continued, adding that mandating the vaccines runs “against everything America stands for.”
“You say we live in the land of the free,” Green said. “Well, you’re not giving anyone freedom because you’re making people do something, essentially — without necessarily making them, you’re making them do something.”
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