NBA Hall of Fame player John Stockton’s season tickets has been suspended by Gonzaga University after he refused to comply with the school’s COVID-19 mask mandate at games
In an interview with The Spokesman-Review, Stockton said that the decision was relayed to him during a meeting with university officials. He described his meeting with Athletic Director Chris Standiford as “congenial” but also “not pleasant.”
“Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit,” Stockton said. “And therefore they received complaints and felt like from whatever the higher-ups — those weren’t discussed, but from whatever it was higher up — they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask or they were going to suspend my tickets.”
The Hall of Fame point guard and NBA’s all-time assist leader said the exchange between him and the university had been polite but still ‘unpleasant.’
Stockton, who has been very outspoken against mask and vaccine requirements, will be banned from games at least until the 2022-23 season.
Since COVID-19 has begun Stockton has been a very vocal critic of the COVID-19 vaccine, mask mandates, and lockdowns.
In the documentary “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies, and Misconceptions Revealed,” Stockton made the unfounded claim that more than 100 professional athletes have died from the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead – professional athletes – the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court,” Stockton said in the interview.
According to the school website, fans over the age of 5 must wear face mask coverings over their nose and mouth while inside the McCarthey Athletic Center. Fans over the age of 12 and older must provide proof of vaccination or provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours. Gonzaga University said in a statement that the school is committed to implementing health and safety protocols.
“We will not speak to specific actions taken with any specific individuals,” the statement said. “We take enforcement of COVID-19 health and safety protocols seriously and will continue to evaluate how we can best mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 with appropriate measures.”
“Gonzaga University continues to work hard to implement and enforce the health and safety protocols mandated by the State and by University policy, including reinforcing the indoor masking requirement. Attendees at basketball games are required to wear face masks at all times,” the statement read. “We will not speak to specific actions taken with any specific individuals. We take enforcement of COVID-19 health and safety protocols seriously and will continue to evaluate how we can best mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 with appropriate measures. The recent decision to suspend concessions in McCarthey Athletic Center is an example of this approach.”
“Gonzaga University places the highest priority on protecting the health and safety of students, employees, and the community,” the statement added.
Stockton played for Gonzaga from 1980-to 1984, averaging 12.5 points, 5.2 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. He went on to have a Hall of Fame career in the NBA, playing for the Utah Jazz for 19 seasons and is the NBA’s all-time leader in career assists with 15,806.
Stockton told the Spokesman-Review that he hopes to retain a relationship with the university.
“There’s probably a lot of different directions this can go, and I think time will tell on all of that,” he said. “My focus is to maintain that relationship, as is theirs. They’ve made it very clear that we’re important to each other and I don’t think that’s going to change. However, there are some absolute impasses that we’re going to figure out.”
“I’ve been around here a long time, so I don’t expect things to linger, whatever they may be,” he added.