News and Commentary

NBA Hall Of Famer Has Season Tickets Suspended By Alma Mater For Defying Mask Mandate
John Stockton talks to other fans in the crowd before the BYU and Gonzaga game in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Stockton's son, David, is a freshman on the Gonzaga team. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)
Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Gonzaga basketball’s all-time leader in steals and NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton has had his season tickets suspended by the university for defying its mask mandates at home games. 

Gonzaga basketball requires either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter McCarthey Athletic Center, and has an indoor mask mandate. 

Stockton has been an outspoken critic of the COVID-19 vaccine, mask mandates, and lockdowns over the past two years. 

In the documentary “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed,” Stockton made the unfounded claim that more than 100 professional athletes have died from the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“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.

In an interview with The Spokesman-Review, Stockton said that the university received several complaints regarding his unwillingness to wear a mask at Gonzaga basketball games. 

“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.”

The university put out a statement regarding the indoor mask mandate, but did not mention Stockton by name. 

“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,” the statement read. “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,” the statement added.

Stockton played for Gonzaga from 1980-1984, averaging 12.5 points, 5.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He went on to have a Hall of Fame career in the NBA, playing for the Utah Jazz for 19 seasons, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in career assists with 15,806. 

Stockton told the Spokesman-Review that he hopes to retain a relationship with the university. 

“There’s probably a lot of different directions this can go, and I think time will tell on all of that,” he said. “My focus is to maintain that relationship, as is theirs. They’ve made it very clear that we’re important to each other and I don’t think that’s going to change. However, there are some absolute impasses that we’re going to figure out.”

“I’ve been around here a long time, so I don’t expect things to linger, whatever they may be,” he added.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to