AP, The Spokesman Review
SPOKANE, Washington (AP) – Gonzaga has suspended John Stockton’s basketball season card after the Hall of Fame point guard refused to abide by the university’s mask mandate.
Stockton, one of Gonzaga’s most prominent alumni, confirmed the move in a Saturday interview with The Spokesman-Review.
“Basically, it came down to them asking me to wear a mask to the games and to be a public person, a person a little more visible, I stuck out a little bit in the crowd,” Stockton said. “And therefore they received complaints and felt that from whatever the higher up – they were not discussed, but whatever it was higher up – they should either ask me to wear a mask or they would suspend my tickets.”
Stockton has come out against COVID-19 vaccines, mask mandates and other protective measures. Last June, he participated in a documentary entitled “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed.”
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In the interview with the newspaper Spokane, Stockton claimed without evidence that more than 100 professional athletes have died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think it’s highly registered now, there are 150, I think now it’s over 100 professional athletes dead – professional athletes – the prime of their lives, to fall dead, who’s vaccinated, right on the field, right on the field, straight on the field “said Stockton.
Experts have told the AP that “there is no scientific evidence” that either COVID-19 or the mRNA vaccines have increased sudden cardiac arrest, often referred to as SCA, among athletes.
The false claim that a large number of athletes collapse or die due to COVID-19 vaccines has been circulating on social media for several months, especially among anti-vaccine circles, and has been rejected by medical experts.
Meanwhile, public health experts say that masks are an important virus prevention tool that is most effective when worn by a large number of people.
In a statement, Gonzaga officials said they are committed to implementing health and safety protocols that include an indoor mask mandate. The university also requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within the last 72 hours to attend home athletic events. As a way to enforce the mask mandate, Gonzaga has suspended its food and beverage sales by gambling.
“We will not talk about specific actions taken with any specific individuals,” the statement read. “We take the enforcement of COVID-19 health and safety protocols seriously and will continue to evaluate how we can best reduce the risks posed by COVID-19 with appropriate measures.”
Stockton played for Gonzaga from 1980 to 1984, when Zags was an intermediate program that never had a record better than 17-11. The team has since retired his No. 12. A life-size poster of Stockton in action hangs in a venue at the McCarthey Athletic Center, part of a gallery of Gonzaga greats.
The Spokane native was a first-round draft pick of the Utah Jazz in 1984, setting an NBA record of 15,806 career assists before retiring in 2003. He and his family have lived in Spokane ever since, and he has been a fixture. at Gonzaga basketball game.
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