In his first official comments since declaring in March he had decided not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins stood his ground and defended his stance against getting the shot.
The headliner at Warriors media day Monday, Wiggins took questions from interviewers curious about whether the 26-year-old veteran would alter his views — especially after the NBA rejected his request for a religious exemption to the local COVID-19 vaccination order.
Judging from his comments, Wiggins may seem willing to risk a significant portion of his $31.6 million salary if he does not play any home games because of his unvaccinated status.
“I’m just going to keep all that private right now. Anything that has to do with my status, vaccination, I’m going to keep it personal, private,” he said, via Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “Back is definitely against the wall. I’m gonna keep fighting for what I believe. What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other and vice versa.”
ESPN’s Bobby Marks went on to note following the Q&A with the media that sitting out all 41 homes games would cost Andrew Wiggins $8.9 million.
Andrew Wiggins COVID-19 vaccine stance and Golden State Warriors’ season
Golden State is obviously relying on Wiggins to play a huge role for the team this season after he performed extremely well in his first full year with the organization.
The former No. 1 pick averaged 18.6 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 48% from the field and 38% from three-point range.
The city of San Francisco has mandated that individuals attending large-scale indoor events must be vaccinated from COVID-19. Both the city and the NBA have since opted to decline Wiggins’ religious exemption.
From a Warriors perspective, missing Wiggins for half their regular-season games would be a big deal. That’s especially true with Klay Thompson unlikely to be available until some time in December.
Whether things change on this front remains to be seen. But Warriors general manager Bob Myers is confident that the entire roster will be vaccinated ahead of opening night.
“We’re optimistic that we’ll have our full complement of players,” said Myers. “We’ll just leave that at that.”
As of right now, Andrew Wiggins might very well be an exception to that rule. He seemed to make that more than clear on Monday.
(Field Level Media contributed to this report)