John Stockton: Gonzaga suspended season tickets due to mask mandate
John Stockton was a staple at Gonzaga’s basketball games, but the former Bulldogs said in an interview with The Spokesperson’s Review that the university suspended its subscriptions for failing to comply with a statewide mask mandate.
Under Washington state law, all people, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask when others outside their household are present, with some exceptions. Indoor sporting events are not considered an exception.
Known as one of the biggest vaccine skeptics in the sports world, Stockton said he was considering “in great detail” wearing his mask in order to keep his subscriptions ahead of the university’s decision.
“Basically it boiled down to, they asked me to wear a mask at the games and being a public figure, someone a bit more visible, I kind of stayed in the crowd,” Stockton said. “And so they got complaints and felt like from any superior – those weren’t discussed, but from any superior – they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask, or they were going to suspend my tickets.”
Through The Spokesperson’s Review, Stockton was in attendance for Gonzaga’s home opener against Pepperdine on Jan. 8, but was not seen in his regular seat against BYU and San Francisco.
Gonzaga requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours to attend home games and has also suspended food and drink sales at games to promote mask-wearing. While Gonzaga’s athletic director and president declined to comment, the university released a general statement.
“Gonzaga University continues to work hard to implement and enforce health and safety protocols mandated by state and University policy, including strengthening the indoor masking requirement” , the statement said. “Attendees at basketball games are required to wear face masks at all times.
“We will not talk about specific actions taken with specific individuals. We take the application of health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 seriously and will continue to assess how we can best mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 with appropriate measures.
As one of only two male Gonzaga players to have his number retired, Stockton said he hoped to maintain the relationship with his alma mater.
“I definitely think it’s stressful [the relationship with Gonzaga]”, Stockton said. “I’m pretty connected to the school. I’ve been on this campus since I was probably 5 or 6 years old. I was just born a few blocks away and snuck into the hall sports and I’ve sold programs to participate in games since I was a little boy. So it’s tight but not broken, and I’m sure we’ll get through this, but it’s not without conflict.
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