Andrew Wiggins, an NBA player for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has issued a heartfelt thank you to the team for providing him an exemption to the NBA’s mandatory vaccine requirement. (The league made the requirement effective the start of this season.) “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all Timberwolves fans who have reached out to me during this time and for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization for providing me an exemption to the NBA’s mandatory vaccination policy,” Wiggins wrote in an Instagram post on Friday.
Last year, Wiggins, who is Jewish, had his religious exemption denied by the team, CNN reports.
Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins has reconsidered forgoing the recommended inoculations in the upcoming season, according to reports.
Also at issue in Wiggins’ exemption request was his faith, which does not consider vaccines a “drug” and puts him in opposition to the NBA’s requirement.
The post, “Andrew Wiggins Lauds Minnesota Timberwolves for providing his Religious Exemption,” has more than 17,000 likes on Instagram.
In a statement to CNN, the Timberwolves said: “Andrew has always been a very religious young man and made this decision for himself and the welfare of his family. The NBA ensures that our teams are allowed to administer the required vaccinations during training camp, and we have to work with their doctors to ensure this is done in a safe and comfortable environment.”
The NBA has no official position on the subject. During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, NBA commissioner Adam Silver argued that athletes’ personal beliefs should not cloud their professional integrity, calling vaccination “basic public health” and “abnormally discriminatory” in 2014.
“It’s never going to be wrong to want to protect your child or yourself. But a business is a business,” he said. “And for public-health reasons, this is an absurd, almost medically absurd rule that has existed. But it has existed for more than 30 years, and we’ve got to figure out how to change that so that we have an honest exchange of ideas in basketball but not with respect to health-based health issues.”