Unvaccinated Andrew Wiggins can't play Warriors home games, NBA denies religious exemption request

·3 min read

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins must get vaccinated if he wants to play home games this season. The San Francisco Department of Public Health ruled Friday that unvaccinated individuals cannot enter the Chase Center, even if they have a religious or medical exemption, according to San Francisco Gate.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health did not mention Wiggins by name, but did refer to "players" in its statement.

"At large and mega indoor events, all patrons 12 and older must be vaccinated at this time," the statement reads. "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."

Under San Francisco vaccine mandates, individuals must be vaccinated from COVID-19 in order to attend large indoor sporting events. Warriors home games at the Chase Center meet that threshold, meaning members of the Warriors must be vaccinated if they want to play games at home. 

NBA denies Andrew Wiggins' request for religious exemption

Wiggins, 26, is not vaccinated. He applied for a religious exemption with the NBA, but the league denied Wiggins' request Friday. 

In a statement, the league confirmed Wiggins could not play in Warriors home games "until he fulfills the city's vaccination requirements."

“The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’ request for 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. Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements.”

Even if the league granted Wiggins' wish, the San Francisco Department of Public Health's decree would have overruled Wiggins' exemption.

Many NBA players have received a COVID-19 vaccine

Wiggins is an outlier in the NBA, where it's believed 90% of players have received a vaccine for COVID-19. At least two teams, the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons, are fully vaccinated.

Wiggins doesn't have much time to get the shot. The Warriors will open training camp Tuesday. The team's first regular-season game is Oct. 19. 

If Wiggins remains unvaccinated, he would still be able to play in games when the Warriors were on the road. In order for Wiggins to play in every game, he would either need to get vaccinated or be traded to a city where vaccine mandates are more relaxed.

Wiggins was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Warriors during the 2019-20 NBA season. He's averaged 18.7 points and 4.8 rebounds since joining Golden State.

Andrew Wiggins with the Warriors.
Andrew Wiggins needs to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to play home games with the Warriors. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
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