Andrew Wiggins Promises to “Keep Doing What I Believe,” While Steve Kerr Refuses Contingency Plan, Says Wiggins Will be “On the Floor and Ready to Roll” With Team.
Steve Kerr looked like he was gritting his teeth when the inevitable question arose at today’s Golden State Warriors media day. Kerr was asked, whether he has a contingency plan in place if Andrew Wiggins refuses to get vaccinated and is banned from home games.
“I haven’t spent any time thinking about that, nor will I,” said Kerr sternly. “We’ll just see how everything plays out. We are hopeful that it all is resolved over the next couple of weeks, but we are going into camp tomorrow with a plan to have everybody out on the floor and ready to roll.”
Doubtful that Kerr has spent no time thinking about it and even more doubtful after today’s presser that it’ll just resolve itself. Wiggins seems to be holding firm, while Kerr is envisioning him playing in all the home games. Pretty wide disconnect.
Kerr later went on to answer a more general question about COVID affecting attendance and play and replied with what appeared to be an indirect message to Wiggins and a clue as to how he really feels about the situation.
“We have to understand we all play a part in society, we have this sort of outsized view of what freedom is, ” Kerr said. He continued, “…while it’s certainly amazing to enjoy that function we also have to function as a society, as a community, that includes our team, our own little community as a team.”
Wiggins faced rapid fire questions immediately when he took the hot seat.
The first one was whether the covid vaccine issue was weighing heavily on him.
“Anything that has to do with my status, vaccination, I’m just gonna keep that private, it’s a personal matter” Wiggins replied.
But the questions continued. When asked how his teammates were reacting he said, “It’s all love…My team, I love them.” Wiggins said it was not an uncomfortable topic, he would be open to discussing it with his teammates and is taking it “day by day.”
One reporter gave Wiggins, who was maskless at the presser, the opportunity to indicate whether he was vaccinated. “Oh no, that’s all good. I’m just gonna keep it private for now,” he replied softly.
As reporters persisted, the reserved Wiggins was forced to open up.
“I am confident in my beliefs and what I think is right, what I think is wrong and I’m just gonna keep doing what I believe,” he said.
Later going on to say his “back is definitely against the wall” but refusing to give into the pressure.
“I’m gonna keep fighting for what I believe,” said Wiggins. “What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other side and vice versa.”
If Wiggins doesn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine, he could miss every game the Warriors play at Chase Center due to San Francisco’s new rules as cases surge in the state.
Wiggins also risks losing half of his $31.6 million annual salary.
Wiggins called that part “my problem, not yours”
“Who are you guys why I have explain what I believe, or you know, what’s right or what’s wrong in my mind? We are two totally different people. What you think is not what I think; what I think is not what you think,” he said.
“I’ll say something when I’m ready. The only thing the media has done it make it bigger than it has to be. I’ll say my side of everything when I’m ready,” said Wiggins, later telling reporters, “It’s none of your business.”
As we have previously reported, there is no religious exemption in the state of California for vaccinations in school. The Q&A describing the San Francisco Public Health Department’s COVID vaccine rules does allow for a request for a religious exemption to the vaccine for employees but the ultimate decision maker is the employer. The NBA has already denied Wiggins’ request.
It’s unclear on the Q&A sheet if the religious exemption option applies to mega events which have their own rules under state law. The Public Health Department did issue a statement saying religious exemptions would not be accepted as an excuse for not getting vaccinated for mega events, which includes sporting events.
Players for the hosting team are required to be vaccinated which means Wiggins would not be able to play in home games if he does not get the vaccine. However, visiting players are not required to be vaccinated and have alternative rules such as submitting a negative COVID test, being masked, distancing and staying out of certain areas. Masks may be removed during performance or play. It is odd that Wiggins would have to miss all home games but under state regulations, visiting team players could play unvaccinated at the Chase Center.
Read more about the different rules for home and visiting teams here: NBA Denies Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins Religious Exemption Request for COVID Vaccine.