Former NBA referee Ken Mauer says the NBA banned him from refereeing games because he refused to take the vaccine, citing 'religious reasons' for not being vaccinated.
The NBA didn't respect his religious beliefs
So far this season, we've had several players refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine, which jeopardized their ability to play in every game for their teams. The most famous one is Kyrie Irving, who missed the majority of the season and can only play in away games, making things difficult for the Brooklyn Nets, who can't rely on one of their best players. The problem with the vaccine rules in the NBA is that they didn't just impact the players but also the referees who had to take the two doses and the booster to be eligible to work for the NBA.
One of the most experienced NBA referees with a 36-year-long career, Ken Maurer, recently opened up about his experience of quitting his job in the NBA for refusing to take the vaccine. In an interview with Jason Whitlock on the Fearless podcast, he talked about his reasoning for not taking the vaccine because of religious reasons and how the NBA didn't respect his decision. Maurer argues that the decision by the NBA didn't make sense because the referees were normally working through the worst parts of the pandemic in the bubble when they had the option to get tested or get the vaccine.
"I never thought that my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ would prevent me or stop me from refereeing NBA basketball games. That is what happened and not just to me but to other people. We were offered a one-year contract at the beginning of this season, but in that one-year contract, it was mandated for all of us to take the vaccine. It was a shock to a lot of us because last year through a much more difficult time, even though the bubble referees were given the option to take the vaccine or you can take the test."
More people in the NBA didn't want to take the vaccine
Maurer argues that he falls in the category of all the other regular workers out there who had to take the vaccine to keep their jobs. He emphasizes that the main reason for not taking the vaccine is his religious beliefs and how numerous people have health or religious reasons for refusing the vaccine.
"I am not ashamed of what I am doing, I am very proud of what I am doing, and I am proud of my faith. I think people have to hear that because I think I am no different than the truck drivers, the school teachers, the health care workers, or the person working on the construction that they don't feel like taking the vaccine because of medical or religious reasons. But they are now forced to take the vaccine, or they are going to lose their jobs, and that is a shame. There are many referees that were forced to take it, because they have children, they have families, and they have bills to pay."
Maurer didn't want to bash or discredit the NBA for their decision to implement these rules upon players, referees, and everyone working for the league. However, he wants to stress that many people in the NBA didn't want to take the vaccine, but they were scared and forced into taking it to keep their jobs for the sake of their families.
"I am not going to get into the NBA, and their position and I am not even going to talk negatively about the NBA. But I am going to say there were a lot of people that didn't want to take this in the NBA, and now they are taking it, and now we have boosters, and they are scared."
Now that more and more countries are quitting the mandates not just worldwide but also in the US, it will be interesting to see if the NBA will loosen up its rule for everyone working with the league. Things might remain the same this season, but the NBA should look into this problem next season and create a solution where everyone is included back into the league. It would make things easier for the fans, the players, and everyone working closely with the NBA because we all want to go back to living our everyday life, and the NBA is no different in that regard.