Longtime NBA Referee Refused Vax For Religious Beliefs

John Simmons | February 24, 2022
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Ken Mauer was an NBA referee for 36 years before the league foolishly decided to fire him for not getting the COVID vaccine.

In an interview with Jason Whitlock, Mauer revealed that he has been absent from officiating NBA games this year because he did not get the vaccine because it violated his religious beliefs. Unfortunately, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement required referees to get the jab in order to keep their jobs.

Mauer, a lifelong Catholic, said that the biggest reason why he did not want to get the vaccine was because after “doing his own research,” he concluded that aborted fetal tissue was used in the development of the vaccine, something that violated his conscience and was enough for to sacrifice his livelihood in order to follow (a worthy conclusion).

“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. And that’s about it in a nutshell and that’s what’s happened,” Mauer said. “Not to just me, but other people.”

Those “other people” included a group of 17 referees that did not want to get vaccinated, but that group dwindled down to just Mauer and three others by opening night. Mauer, however, plans on holding firm to his stance until the end.

“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.

This is the kind of courage you like to see, an independent-thinking man of faith standing by his convictions even when one of the most lucrative businesses in the country took away his livelihood. The temptation to stay was probably strong at certain points. After all, the pay was good (the lowest annual salary for NBA referees before the 2021 season started was $180,000), he was respected by his peers, and had all the comfort in the world afforded to him.

But even that was not enough to sway him from his convictions. Each man’s religious beliefs and the freedom to think for ourselves should be more important than our livelihood, for what can a man hold onto if not for God and conscience? Jobs come and go, but our beliefs should stay forever - something Mauer’s story should remind all of us.