John Stockton's Gonzaga CBB Season Tickets Suspended After Refusing to Wear Mask

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 23, 2022

Gonzaga's John Stockton speaks to the media during a news conference, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. Stockton was one of eight people inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Former Gonzaga and Utah Jazz star John Stockton had his season tickets to Bulldogs games suspended after he failed to comply with the school's mask mandates, per Theo Lawson of The Spokesman-Review.

"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 said. "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."

Gonzaga released the following statement regarding the situation:

"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. Gonzaga University places the highest priority on protecting the health and safety of students, employees and the community."

Stockton, who is anti-vaccination and opposes mask mandates, made a number of false claims in a documentary last year, COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed, including that over 100 athletes have died from vaccination. 

"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," he claimed.

However, Reuters fact-checked and disproved the online claim that Stockton cited, finding that among the number of deaths reported, several were from coaches and that while many of those deaths "were linked in news reports to heart issues, there is no current evidence that they prove a common link between COVID-19 vaccines and fatality."

Stockton, 59, spent four years at Gonzaga (1980-84) before having a Hall of Fame career with the Jazz. He holds the NBA record for career steals (3,265) and assists (15,806).