UTAH JAZZ

Gonzaga Suspends John Stockton’s Season Tickets Over Defiance Of Mask Mandate

Jan 23, 2022, 12:06 PM
John Stockton - Gonzaga Bulldogs - Utah Jazz...
Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament at EnergySolutions Arena on March 23, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Gonzaga Bulldogs suspended the season tickets of alumnus and Utah Jazz legend John Stockton because of his failure to comply with the school’s mask mandate, according to the former basketball player via The Spokesman-Review.

The school’s mandate requires all basketball game attendees to wear a mask.

Stockton’s tickets for home games at the McCarthey Athletic Center, where his No. 12 jersey hangs in the rafters, have been suspended over the NBA great’s defiance to Gonzaga’s mask mandate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Jazzman told The Spokesman-Review that Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford recently informed him of the school’s decision to suspend his tickets. Stockton called the conversation “congenial” but “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 Spokesman-Review on Saturday, January 22. “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.”

While Gonzaga declined to comment on The Spokeman-Review’s story, the school shared the following statement:

“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. 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.”

Stockton said the suspension puts stress on the relationship with his Alma Mater.

“I think certainly it stresses (the relationship with Gonzaga). I’m pretty connected to the school,” Stockton said. “I’ve been part of this campus since I was probably five or six years old. I was just born a couple blocks away and sneaking into the gym and selling programs to get into games since I was a small boy. So, it’s strained but not broken, and I’m sure we’ll get through it, but it’s not without some conflict.”

Stockton was also asked if he’d thought about wearing a mask in order to keep his season tickets.

“Of course. You consider everything, every option when you’re presented with something like that, and I considered it in great detail,” the former Jazzman replied.

In addition to his disagreement with Gonzaga’s mandate, Stockton has been outspoken against COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. In July 2021, the legendary Jazz point guard shared his anti-vaccination opinions in a documentary titled, “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed.”

During his conversation with The Spokesman-Review, Stockton falsely claimed that more than 100 professional athletes have died because of vaccination.

Stockton’s assertions have not been backed up by medical or scientific data.

“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.

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