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NBA denies Andrew Wiggins COVID-19 vaccine exemption request

Andrew Wiggins refuses to get the vaccine and it could cost the Warriors and Wiggins.

Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors arrives to the arena prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 21, 2021 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE: The NBA has officially denied Andrew Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption to the San Francisco Department of Health vaccination requirement. The NBA does not require players be vaccinated unless a local health ordinance requires it. San Francisco requires vaccinations for all employees of businesses hosting large indoor events — of which the Warriors qualify. Wiggins will have to get vaccinated or he will not be able to play in Warriors home games.

The city of San Francisco is imposing a vaccine requirement on hosts of large indoor events that requires all employees be vaccinated. This is potentially going to impact the Golden State Warriors as they prepare to open their 2021-22 season.

Small forward Andrew Wiggins has refused to get vaccinated unless forced to, and the San Francisco health department could prevent him from playing until he gets vaccinated. The NBA has not negotiated a vaccinate mandate with the players’ association, but “if a local jurisdiction requires vaccination to enter an arena, then an unvaccinated player must get a religious or medical exemption from the league to play on his home court.”

San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Rusty Simmons is reporting the city has the power to override a religious exemption and the Warriors are concerned the city will do so. The San Francisco Department of Public Health would not comment on Wiggins’ situation, but did tell the Chronicle they are “addressing the matter of requests for religious exemption from vaccinations across many industries and will work with our business and entertainment community on next steps.”

This is also not a clear-cut situation for Warriors games and their opponents. Warriors players are subject to San Francisco rules, but opposing players are not subject to the same restrictions. SFDPH provided the following list of restrictions to the Chronicle for opposing players:

  1. Unvaccinated players from visiting teams or performers not employed by the Warriors must remain at least 6 feet away from members of the public for the entire duration of the event,
  2. They must provide a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the event (nucleic acid or antigen, per NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Monte Poole), and
  3. They must wear a mask when not performing or playing.

This creates a situation of competitive disadvantage for the Warriors. Wiggins is coming off a season in which he averaged 18.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in 71 games with the Warriors.

Wiggins does not appear to have commented on the situation. The Warriors open their preseason schedule in Portland on October 4 and play their first home preseason game on October 6 against Denver. Golden State opens the regular season at the Lakers on October 19 and then at home against the Clippers on October 21.