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NBA denies Andrew Wiggins’ request for religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination

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The NBA isn’t requiring players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the 2021-22 season. However, the league is enforcing local vaccine requirements in New York and San Francisco for players on the teams in those cities. San Francisco requires anyone 12 or older to provide proof of vaccination at large indoor events, such as Warriors games at Chase Center, unless there is an approved medical or religious exemption for them not doing so.  

That means that all Warriors players must be vaccinated in order to play in home games. Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins requested a religious exemption from the league, but it was denied. Now, Wiggins must get vaccinated in order to play in home games. The league released the following statement on Friday: 

The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’ request for religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all participants age 12 and older at large indoor events. Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements.

There are several weeks remaining before the season starts, so Wiggins has plenty of time to get vaccinated and not be forced to miss any games. The question now is whether he will. 

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When it comes to the league as a whole, Wiggins and other unvaccinated players are in the vast minority. With training camps set to begin next week, 90 percent of NBA players are fully vaccinated, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. This is a solid sign for the NBA, as the league is clearly hoping that it won’t have to postpone nearly as many games as it did a season ago. 

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