Sports | September 28, 2021 12:46 pm

Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins Is “Not Uncomfortable” With Being the Face of Unvaccinated NBA Players

The NBA says it had “reviewed and denied” Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from getting the vaccine 

Andrew Wiggins having his portrait taken by photographer Kareem Black at media day. Wiggins Is “Not Uncomfortable” With Being the Face of Unvaccinated NBA Players
Andrew Wiggins having his portrait taken by Kareem Black at media day.
Carlos Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty

With the NBA having “reviewed and denied” his request for a religious exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins is staring down the prospect of being unable to play in 44 of Golden State’s home games, including three in the preseason, between October and April due to local health guidelines.

“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,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health said last week.

The NBA stated “Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements” in the announcement about the exemption request being denied, so there is zero chance the 26-year-old can take the floor in San Fran unless he gets vaccinated. And, although the NBAPA would likely fight it tooth and nail, there’s a possibility Wiggins could lose a huge chunk of his $31.6 million salary for the 2021-22 season if he’s forced to sit out for refusing to get the jab.

Considering that Wiggins feels strongly enough about not getting the vaccine to risk losing millions of dollars, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that he’s “not uncomfortable” with all the attention his decision has created. “I’m confident in my beliefs and what I think is right, what I think is wrong,” he said at Golden State’s media day on Monday. “Back is definitely against the wall. But just going to keep fighting for what I believe, whether it’s one thing or another, get the vaccination or not get the vaccination, who knows, like I’m just going to keep fighting for what I believe and what I believe is right. What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other, you know, vice versa.”

So what does he belives? “It’s none of your business, that’s what it comes down to,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins, who averaged 18.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 blocks per game last season, was also asked about the prospect of losing more than $350,000 per game if he can’t suit up when Golden State is at home. “It’s my problem, not yours,” he said.

Kyrie Irving of the Nets, who was not allowed to attend his team’s media day on Monday due to his vaccination status, is also at risk of missing all of his team’s home games in Brooklyn unless he gets vaccinated like 90% of the NBA’s players have already done.

The Warriors will opens their regular season on October 19 at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers. The team’s first regular-season home game is scheduled for the 21st against the LA Clippers.