Coronavirus: Gonzaga suspends John Stockton’s tickets for ignoring mask mandate

John Stockton’s uniform number from his college days at Gonzaga is retired, but the Pro Basketball Hall of Famer won’t be able to see it hanging from the rafters.

>> Read more trending news

The university suspended Stockton’s men’s basketball season tickets because he is not following the school’s mask mandate, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Stockton, 59, who starred at Gonzaga from 1980 to 1984, said Athletic Director Chris Standiford notified him of the university’s decision in a conversation he described as “congenial” but also “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 Spokesman-Review. “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 publicly spoke about the COVID-19 in a film that was released in June, ESPN reported. In the documentary titled, “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed,” Stockton claimed that more than 100 professional athletes have died from vaccinations, the Spokesman Review reported. He also said tens of thousands of people -- perhaps millions -- have died from vaccines.

Standiford declined to be quoted by the newspaper but issued a statement.

“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,” Standiford said. “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.”

Two of Stockton’s children had standout college basketball careers at Gonzaga. Stockton said his relationship with the school is now strained.

“I’m pretty connected to the school,” Stockton told the Spokesman Review. “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.”

Stockton is still Gonzaga’s all-time leader in steals (262) and steals per game (2.4), ESPN reported.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 after 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz. He was a 10-time All-Star, and he helped the U.S. men’s basketball team win two Olympic gold medals, ESPN reported.

More coronavirus pandemic coverage:

>> Coronavirus: How long between exposure to the virus and the start of symptoms?

>> What are your chances of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19? This tool will tell you

>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does