SPOKANE, Wash. – (AP) – Gonzaga has suspended John Stockton’s basketball season tickets after the Hall of Fame point guard refused to comply with the university’s mask mandate.
Stockton, one of Gonzaga’s most prominent alumni, confirmed the move in an interview Saturday with The Spokesman-Review.
“Basically it boiled down to, they asked me to wear a mask at the games and being a public figure, someone a bit more visible, I kind of stayed in the crowd,” Stockton said. “And so they got complaints and felt like from all the higher ups – those weren’t discussed, but whatever was higher up – they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask, or they were going to suspend my tickets.”
Stockton has spoken out against COVID-19 vaccines, mask mandates and other protective measures. Last June, he participated in a documentary called “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed”.
In the interview with the Spokane newspaper, Stockton claimed without proof that more than 100 professional athletes have died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think it’s very registered now, there are 150 I believe now, that’s over 100 professional athletes dead – professional athletes – prime, falling dead who are vaccinated, right on the field , straight to the pitch, straight to the pitch,” Stockton said.
Experts told the AP there is “no scientific evidence” that COVID-19 or mRNA vaccines have increased sudden cardiac arrest, often called ACS, in athletes.
The false claim that large numbers of athletes are collapsing or dying from COVID-19 vaccines has been circulating on social media for months, especially among anti-vaccine circles, and has been dismissed by medical experts.
Meanwhile, public health experts say masks are a key virus prevention tool that are most effective when worn by large numbers of people.
In a statement, Gonzaga officials said they are committed to implementing health and safety protocols, which include an indoor mask mandate. The university also requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within the last 72 hours to attend home sporting events. In order to enforce the mask mandate, Gonzaga has suspended food and drink sales at games.
“We will not discuss specific actions taken with specific individuals,” the statement said. “We take the enforcement of COVID-19 health and safety protocols seriously and will continue to assess how we can best mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 with appropriate measures.”
Stockton played for Gonzaga from 1980 to 1984, when the Zags were a mediocre program that never posted a record better than 17-11. The team has since retired its number 12. A life-size poster of Stockton in action hangs in a lobby at the McCarthey Athletic Center, part of a gallery of Gonzaga big names.
The Spokane native was a first-round pick of the Utah Jazz in 1984 and set an NBA record with 15,806 career assists before retiring in 2003. He and his family have lived in Spokane since then, and he does integral part of Gonzaga. basketball games.
More AP Sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.