Unvaccinated Warriors player could cost the team home-court advantage

Andrew Wiggins could cost the Golden State Warriors home-court advantage due to San Francisco’s COVID rules for attending major events within the city.

© John Bazemore, Associated Press

People who are vaccine-eligible and remain unvaccinated will not be allowed to attend events at Chase Center that have more than 1,000 attendees, regardless of their reason for being unvaccinated or if they have recently tested negative for COVID-19, according to the San Francisco Department of Health. This mandate also applies to players, meaning Wiggins, who said back in March that he would not get vaccinated, could not enter the arena.

“I don’t really see myself getting it any time soon, unless I’m forced to,” the Warriors forward said during a press conference in March about getting the vaccine. Wiggins has yet to be vaccinated, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. 

It would be major blow for the Golden State, who are trying to compete for another NBA championship after losing Kevin Durant to free agency and Klay Thompson to injury for the past two seasons. In 2020-21, Wiggins averaged 18.6 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting a career-best 47.7% from the field, including 38% from the three-point land.

Video: Possible NBA Changes in 2021-22 (Stadium)

In a memo sent to all NBA teams earlier this month, the league noted that it would adhere to laws enacted by local governments regarding vaccination requirements. It specifically cited regulations in San Francisco and New York that would essentially bar any unvaccinated players for the Warriors, Knicks and Nets from playing in home games.

The NBA also noted in the memo that an unvaccinated player who lacked an approved exemption on medical or religious grounds, and whose status in that regard limited his availability to his team, could be considered in breach of his contractual duties and thus subject to fines, suspensions and/or loss of pay.

Wiggins reportedly may seek a religious exemption, but the city of San Francisco can override such an exemption.

Training camps open Sept. 28, with the Warriors opening the preseason Oct. 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers, with Golden State’s regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers scheduled for Oct. 21. Nine of the first 12 games for the Warriors are at the Chase Center.

The Washington Post and the Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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