The Covid vaccine rules affected not only NBA players but also the league’s referees. Ken Mauer is one of them. The 66-year-old official has officiated in 1,717 regular season and 229 playoff games but was banned from officiating this season.
Unlike the players, the officials were mandated to take the vaccine. Mauer, a devout catholic, refused to take the jab for religious reasons. He revealed that initially 17 referees objected the mandate but mostly complied, leaving him and two more officials on the list of refusals.
“I never thought that my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ would prevent me or stop me or get in the way of me refereeing NBA basketball games. … That’s what’s happened,” Mauer said. “Not to just me, but other people.”
According to Mauer, some of his colleagues reluctantly took the vaccine because they needed to support their families. He says he will never take the jab though.
“There are many referees that didn’t want to take the vaccine. And there are many referees who were forced to because they have children, they have families, and they have bills to pay. … They’re scared and I’m not. I’m never going to take (the vaccine).”