Veteran NBA Referee Says He Lost His Job Due to Coronavirus Mandate

Veteran NBA Referee Says He Lost His Job Due to Coronavirus Mandate

A 36-year NBA referee says that he lost his job after he refused to take the coronavirus vaccine for religious reasons.

In an interview on Fearless with Jason Whitlock, longtime NBA referee Ken Mauer said he never felt that his faith would be what cost him his career.

“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 explained. “Not to just me, but other people.”

Referee Ken Mauer at American Airlines Center on October 18, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by...

DALLAS, TX – OCTOBER 18: NBA referee Ken Mauer at American Airlines Center on October 18, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Mauer, 66, revealed that 17 other officials remained reticent to get the vaccine before the season began. However, 13 of those officials eventually chose to get vaccinated, and only four remained unvaccinated by opening night.

“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,” Mauer said.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni argues a call with referee Ken Mauer in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center...

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 15: Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni argues a call with referee Ken Mauer in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on November 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

According to Larry Brown Sports:

Of the four holdouts, one agreed to arbitration and lost, while another, who heads the replay center, is paid to work from home. Mauer and another official have filed an appeal with the Equal Employment Opportunity Center.

Mauer, 66, is the third-longest tenured referee in NBA history. One of his career goals was to become the longest-tenured NBA official ever. But that goal is currently in jeopardy as long as the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement with the NBA officials calls for vaccine requirements.

Several NBA players have made headlines for refusing to take the coronavirus vaccine, as is their right. However, NBA officials are required to be vaccinated under the collective bargaining agreement.

Dylan Gwinn