Gonzaga has suspended John Stockton’s men’s basketball season tickets because of the Hall of Famer’s failure to follow the school’s mask mandate, he confirmed to The Spokesman-Review.
Stockton, whose jersey is retired by the school, said he was informed of the decision by Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford. Stockton described the conversation as “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 newspaper. “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.”
Stockton made public his views on the COVID vaccine in a film that was released in June.
Standiford declined to be quoted by the newspaper, instead issuing a statement that said: “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.”
Gonzaga requires proof of vaccination or a negative test 72 hours before attending a sporting event. The school became stricter with its mask mandate after suspending concessions at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Stockton told the newspaper that Gonzaga’s decision “stresses” his relationship with the school but indicated it can be repaired over time. “I’ve been part of this campus since I was probably 5 or 6 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.”
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