Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, has suspended the season tickets of one of its most famous alumni, John Stockton, after he failed to comply with the school’s basketball games mask mandate, the NBA Hall of Famer confirmed to The Spokesman-Review.
The former Utah Jazz point guard, 59, said he was notified of the university’s decision by Gonzaga Athletic Director Chris Standiford and said the conversation had been “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 told the newspaper. “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.”
According to Gonzaga’s website, individuals age 12 and over are required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours if they wish to attend any of the school’s ticketed athletic events.
Stockton has been an outspoken critic of COVID-19 vaccines and appeared in a June 2021 documentary titled “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed.”
“This isn’t a virus cheating us of this opportunity,” Stockton said in the documentary. “It’s the guys making decisions saying: ‘No, no we’re too scared. We’re going to shut everything down. Sit in your house and be careful.’”
He also asserted that over 100 professional athletes have died after getting vaccinated.
“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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Biden administration maintain that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and that severe adverse events are rare.
According to a study published last September by the CDC, unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die of the virus than those who are vaccinated.
However, much of the safety data relating to the shots has been withheld from the public, prompting some health experts and organizations to put pressure on the CDC to release such data.
Last week the British Medical Journal (BMJ), a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the trade union the British Medical Association, demanded the full and immediate release of all data related to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments while accusing pharmaceutical companies of “reaping vast profits without adequate independent scrutiny of their scientific claims.”
In December, the CDC was also sued by the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) over claims that it is improperly withholding de-identified post-licensure safety data on the vaccines from the American public.
“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,” Standiford said in a statement to the Spokesman-Review.
“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,” Standiford said.