On the latest episode of the “Fearless with Jason Whitlock,” 36-year veteran NBA referee Ken Mauer explained that his absence from the NBA sidelines during the 2021-2022 season is due to the NBA’s vaccine requirement for referees.
“I guess I never thought that my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ would prevent me, or stop me, or get in the way of me refereeing NBA basketball games,” Mauer told Whitlock.
“And that’s about it in a nutshell. And that’s what’s happened. Not just to me but to other people. We were offered a one-year contract at the beginning of this season. Our union, or executive board, came to us with a one year contract, but in that one year contract, the league was requesting that we mandate that all of us take the vaccine. It was a shock to all of us, or to a lot of us, because last year, through a much more difficult time even through the bubble [NBA restart in Orlando], referees were given the option to either take the vaccine or you could test.”
“Last year, I tested four times on game days,” he added. “Because I had chosen not to take the vaccine”
Mauer is a practicing Catholic and will not take the COVID-19 vaccine due to his faith, although the Vatican’s official guidance allows for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. During the 2020-2021 season, the vaccine was not mandated for referees, but that changed for the 2021-2022 season.
“For whatever reason he [NBA commissioner Adam Silver] and the NBA changed, and going into this season, it was mandated that you take the vaccine or you would not be allowed to referee in the NBA,” Mauer said.
In September of 2021, the NBA announced a vaccine requirement for referees and any member of an NBA team who works within 15 feet of players. They did not however mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for NBA players, due to pushback from the National Basketball Players Association.
“I don’t know, and that’s a question I know our union asked,” Mauer said when asked why players are not mandated to be vaccinated. “I know our union representatives asked. I know every referee’s asked that. They wanted everybody to take the vaccine … but let’s make this very clear here. A lot of the players didn’t want to, and a lot of the referees didn’t want to [take the vaccine].”
Mauer, who has been associated with the NBA for 43 years, has not publicly spoken about losing his job due to the vaccine mandate until now.
“First of all, I’m comfortable with you,” Mauer told Whitlock when asked why he’s now telling his story. “I really believe that the real message will get out. I’ve never not been willing to talk … I’m not ashamed of what I’m doing. In fact, I’m very proud of what I’m doing. I’m very proud of my faith.”
“I’m no different, Jason, than the truck driver, than the school teacher, than the healthcare worker, than the person working construction. They don’t either medically or religiously feel like taking the vaccine, and now they’re being forced to or else they’re going to lose their job,” Mauer continued. “And I think that’s a shame. There’s many referees that didn’t want to take the vaccine. And there are many referees that were forced to because they have children, they have families,and they have bills to pay. I’m not going to get into the NBA and their position. You’ll have to talk to them. I’m not here to even talk negatively about the NBA.”
“I’m here to say that there’s a lot of people that didn’t want to take this in the NBA — you call it whatever you want — coerced, forced, and now they’re taking it. And now there’s boosters. And they’re scared,” he added. “And I’m not. And because I’m not going to ever take that [the COVID-19 vaccine].”
This is an excerpt from The Daily Wire.
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