Although the NBA does not mandate that players need to be vaccinated in order to play, the league does expect teams to follow local vaccine laws. San Francisco, to which the Golden State Warriors belong, and New York City are two such league cities that require all employees to be vaccinated for large indoor events.
As per news reports, there is belief that Andrew Wiggins could be granted a religious exemption from the NBA, but the San Francisco city government has the power to override that exemption. While the San Francisco Department of Public Health did not address Wiggins’ situation specifically, they did issue the following statement:
“We are actively 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. We will provide further clarification on this topic.”
What is also interesting about the whole vaccination policy is that visiting teams’ players who are not vaccinated can play in California and New York City. Andrew Wiggins himself can play in Warriors games that are played away from Chase Center.
While the NBA has no league-wide vaccine mandate for players, it does require that all coaches, front-offices, medical staff, security and all other support staff, including scorer’s table staff and officials, get vaccinated.
Andrew Wiggins important to Warriors’ plans
Last season, the Golden State Warriors failed to win their play-in games against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies, which would have given them a spot in the 2021 Playoffs. Andrew Wiggins’ non-availability would certainly hurt the Warriors in that context as the forward averaged 18.6 ppg and 4.9 rpg while shooting 38.0% from the three-point line last season.
In the absence of Klay Thompson, Wiggins was the number one wing player for Golden State last season. This would certainly continue to be the case if Thompson doesn’t begin the 2021-22 season for Golden State. Wiggins will likely forfeit more than USD 350,000 for every game that he misses.
Andrew Wiggins is a former 2014 No.1 Draft pick who played with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the first five-and-a-half seasons of his NBA career. He was picked first overall on draft night by the Cleveland Cavaliers, only to be sent to Minnesota a few months later in a three-team deal that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland. Wiggins averaged 19.7 ppg in his time with the Timberwolves, picking up the 2015 Rookie of the Year Award.
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