The start of the 2021-22 campaign sits less than a month away, pushing the spotlight to prominent remaining COVID-19 vaccination situations around the league. The Golden State Warriors continue to work around Andrew Wiggins‘ reluctance to take the shot. Wiggins has now entrenched himself deeper into his stance despite the potential of losing a significant portion of his salary next season.
NBA won’t mandate players to get vaccinated
As the 2021-22 NBA season nears closer, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a prominent issue.
The matter has led to ongoing discussions between the league and NBPA regarding COVID-related protocols and procedures. The NBPA has stood firm in not budging on the demand regarding the players not being required to take the vaccine.
According to ESPN, around 85% of players are vaccinated, while the NBA referees and most team staff are mandated to be vaccinated. The matter took a complicated step forward as New York and San Francisco recently enforced a new law requiring vaccination for large indoor outings.
Andrew Wiggins’ situation has moved to the forefront as he stands to forfeit a significant portion of his salary.
Andrew Wiggins stubbornly confirmed he’s willing to forfeit $8.9 million over his refusal to take COVID-19 vaccine: ‘It’s my problem, not yours’
In the weeks before the start of training camp, Wiggins’ vaccination status became a significant story.
The veteran swingman remains one of the most notable players who have yet to take the COVID-19 vaccine. His decision has drawn more scrutiny due to the San Francisco Department of Public Health stating last week that everyone 12 or older must be vaccinated to attend a large indoor gathering.
On Monday, the entire situation came to a head at Warriors‘ Media Day as Wiggins faced several questions concerning his choice. Despite the possibility of missing all 41 home regular-season games that would result in losing roughly $8.9 million, the 26-year-old stuck firm to his stance.
“It’s my problem,” Wiggins said via ESPN. “Not yours.”
Wiggins, who was recently denied a religious exemption for the vaccine, added that he wasn’t uncomfortable with the media attention.
“It’s not uncomfortable,” Wiggins said. “I’m confident in my beliefs and what I think is right, what I think is wrong. I’m just going to keep doing what I believe. Whether it’s one thing or another, just going to keep doing it.”
The unresolved issues have put the Warriors in a tight spot, with the regular-season opener quickly approaching. General manager Bob Myers voiced confidence that Golden State will have the entire team available to play the first game on Oct. 19 at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“My belief and my thoughts are that we’ll have the full team,” Myers said. “I’m not preparing really for anything different right now…I don’t think — the hypothetical stuff doesn’t serve me. I get why you have to ask. I get why people have to wonder. But we’re going to deal in reality now and that’s what we’re doing each day. Like I said, I’m confident we’ll have a full team.”
Stephen Curry reacts to Andrew Wiggins’ vaccination situation
With Wiggins’ vaccination situation remaining unresolved, it unsurprisingly led to his teammates having to field questions.
Stephen Curry voiced that he hopes his teammate possesses the correct information to make an educated decision.
“At the end of the day, it is up to him. I think it’s no secret to that point. We obviously hope that he has all the right information and access to the right resources to ask all the questions he has on making decisions,” Curry told ClutchPoints about the Warriors’ key supporting-cast player.
Nearly all of the Warriors’ players field questions about Wiggins due to his importance to the team. However, not all of his teammates took a calm approach as Andre Iguodala aired frustration at the media coverage of the situation.
“I think we all have to do our homework a little bit better. That’s for all of us,” Iguodala said, via Colin Ward-Henniger of CBS Sports. “I’ve been upset reading about Andrew Wiggins because it’s painting the wrong picture. We’re in a day and age now where perception can become reality. And the perception that’s going on about him is hurting his value and ultimately can affect the wealth that he accumulates, which is totally unfair.”
As the regular season nears closer, the Warriors will gather clarity on Wiggins’ situation.