The Warriors’ season starts in less than a month, and as of now, the status of their starting small forward, Andrew Wiggins, is in doubt after the NBA denied his request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s vaccine mandate.
The NBA announced the denial in a statement on Friday, saying, “Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccine requirements.”
The ruling would prevent Wiggins from playing home games, though he theoretically could play road games in areas not governed by similar mandates. Wiggins will also be restricted from even doing solo workouts in the team facility starting in October unless he chooses to be vaccinated.
Previously, the league had said it would comply with local mandates such as this one in San Francisco, which is based upon the fact that a Warriors game counts as a large, indoor gathering and thus all in attendance must be vaccinated. Similar mandates exist in Los Angeles and New York City, where four of the league’s teams play.
With training camps opening Tuesday, the league’s rules came into question repeatedly in these markets. Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said he expected the rule not to be a problem, but subsequent reporting indicated that star guard Kyrie Irving has not yet been vaccinated.
The NBA reportedly will not require players to be vaccinated, but depending on where they play, challenges are already cropping up for many.