GREENBURGH, NY (AP) – The NBA has denied Andrew Wiggins’ vaccination waiver request so that the Golden State Warriors swingman will not be eligible to play home games until he meets the San Francisco vaccination requirement.
The verdict was announced on Friday after the New York Knicks stated that their entire squad had been vaccinated, which entitles all of their players to play their home games.
Due to local coronavirus regulations in New York and San Francisco, the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Warriors must be vaccinated to play in their home arenas unless there are exceptions for medical or religious reasons.
Wiggins requested an exemption from the league on religious grounds.
“The NBA has reviewed and rejected Andrew Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all participants 12 years and older at major indoor events,” said one Declaration of the league. “Wiggins won’t be able to play the Warriors’ home games until he meets the city’s vaccination regulations.
Unvaccinated players are allowed to play this season, although the NBA has announced that they will need to be tested daily on training and travel days and at least once – possibly more – on match days, while fully vaccinated players will not have daily testing.
However, the Knicks, Nets and Warriors are subject to stricter rules due to their local regulations, which the NBA has advised teams not to apply to clubs they visit.
The Knicks are the first of those teams to say they have fulfilled the mandate.
“I’m proud to say that our organization – players, coaches and staff – are 100 percent vaccinated,” said General Manager Scott Perry on Friday. “And I think it is also thanks to our players that they took this matter very seriously and took responsibility for it.”
Nets executive director Sean Marks said earlier this week that some players would not be eligible to compete yet, but he was confident they would all be able to compete by the start of the regular season on October 19th.
Wiggins still has time because the San Francisco mandate won’t come into effect until the middle of next month. Training camp open on Tuesday.
The NBA has made arrangements this off-season that virtually all parties involved in games – referees, coaches, statistics team staff, and anyone else who is in NBA arenas in close proximity to players on or off the pitch – will be vaccinated to to participate.
The only exception: the players themselves, with the National Basketball Players Association rejecting all efforts by the NBA to require a vaccination. About 85% of the players were vaccinated at the end of last season. The league-wide number is said to have increased since then.
Knicks trainer Tom Thibodeau credited the Knicks medical staff for keeping the organization updated and informed of virus logs. Perry praised the players for responding to the information they were given, saying their decision to get vaccinated was unrelated to any rules.
“As an organization, of course, we obey laws and mandates for the league and state government, but a lot of it was internal, controlled internally,” said Perry.
AP basketball writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.
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