Andrew Wiggins’ Anti-Vax Stance Could Cost Warriors Home Game Advantage

Image Credit: Andrew Wiggins Twitter

Andrew Wiggins and the Golden State Warriors are headed toward a problem.

Wiggins is against taking the COVID-19 vaccination; this could be a home game issue.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Warriors are worried that San Francisco vaccine mandates will affect the playing ability of Wiggins. The NBA’s recent decision to follow regional protocols may lead to Wiggins missing games.

Exception To The Rule?

However, there are exemptions, and the Warriors hope Wiggins’ stance will fall into one of them.

“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,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a statement told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We will provide further clarification on this topic.”

Beginning Oct. 13 in San Francisco, everyone over 12 years old must show proof of being fully vaccinated before entering any large-scale event.

The Bay Area Problem

The Golden State Warriors play their games at Chase Center, which falls under the ruling. The ruling also covers any indoor gyms or other fitness facilities, unless there is an approved medical or religious exemption for unvaccinated personnel.

However, this is the silver lining the Warriors are hoping for: religious exemption. If the NBA grants Wiggins a religious exemption there remains a hurdle. The San Francisco city government still has the power to override the league exemption.

In addition, this is especially true since the NBA has informed teams that they will have to follow local vaccine laws. Currently, only two cities have stringent vaccine mandates for significant indoor events: the city that never sleeps, NYC, and the city by the Bay.

What is at risk is the Warriors home game advantage, where Wiggins’ punishment would be exclusion from home games if he doesn’t get vaccinated. He will not be allowed to participate in Warriors home games.

That would be a considerable loss for the Golden State Warriors.

Andrew Wiggins Matters

Wiggins was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Born in Toronto, Canada, Wiggins played college basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks. He was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the second Canadian to be selected No. 1 overall in the NBA draft.

Wiggins earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors for the 2014–15 season while playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, in February 2020, after spending his first five and a half seasons with Minnesota, Wiggins got traded to Golden State.

He averaged 18.6 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting a career-best 47.7 percent from the field, 38 percent from deep.

NBA During COVID-19

The issue of leaguewide vaccinations for players is still under negotiation with the National Basketball Players Association.

However, the NBA has set an Oct. 1 deadline for team personnel to be fully vaccinated. In addition, booster shots mandates are also under consideration and will be decided later.

For the rest of the league, the current vaccine mandate applies to all personnel who will work near the court. On Tuesday, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said if the season started today “a couple” of players couldn’t play for the team.

However, Marks also said he expected that situation to be resolved  by the beginning of the season. The Warriors are in the same boat. Now teams must deal with the new realities of professional sports in the age of COVID-19.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.