After initially refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has obliged against his belief and is now vaccinated.
Wiggins spoke to the media on Monday after Golden State’s 121-107 preseason win over the Trail Blazers, and said he felt forced by the NBA to take the shot.
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) warms up before the NBA play-in game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
“The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins said. “It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I’m still healthy.”
Wiggins was revealed as the Warriors only non-vaccinated player during last Monday’s NBA Media Day, citing health and religious reasons. Wiggins applied for a waiver exemption from the league but was denied. If Wiggins held true to his guns to not get the shot, he would have been at the risk of missing at least 41-of-82 games this season, due to San Francisco’s vaccine mandate. The mandate states that anyone taking part in a large indoor gathering must receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 21: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2021 Play-In Tournament on May 21, 2021 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images) (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Draymond Green, Wiggins’ teammate, came out in support of Wiggins last week, saying that he respects his right to not get vaccinated and wishes more people would accept that.
Lakers forward LeBron James agreed with Green as well, which has drawn criticism from media members and other players around the league, such as Celtics center Enes Kanter. Kanter went on CNN on Sunday and said he was disappointed to hear what James said and urged him to be a leader in promoting players to get the vaccine.
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) celebrates with guard Stephen Curry (30) after Wiggins made a 3-point shot against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Where is the “my body, my choice” crowd at on this one? On vacation? Or are they ignoring the issues that don’t fit the narrative? My money is on the latter, as we continue to see athletes forced into taking the shot.
Wiggins clearly isn’t comfortable with it, as evident in the tone of his voice.
“I guess to do certain stuff, you know, to work and all that, you don’t own your body,” Wiggins said. “You know, that’s what it comes down to.”