Long-time NBA official Ken Mauer is now left jobless after he refused to comply with a COVID vaccine mandate for religious reasons. Mauer has been with the NBA since 1986 and is the third-longest tenured referee in the history of the association.

"I guess 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," Mauer said during an appearance in "Fearless with Jason Whitlock," as per the Christian Headlines.

The NBA referee is a practicing Catholic and he had refused the COVID vaccine, a requirement for all NBA referees working for the 2021-2022 season. During the last season, referees were allowed to undergo regular testing in lieu of the vaccine, an option they have rescinded.

"Last year, I tested four times on game days because I had chosen not to take the vaccine," Mauer recounted. "For whatever reason, he [NBA commissioner Adam Silver] and the NBA changed, and going into this season, it was mandated that you take the vaccine or you would not be allowed to referee in the NBA."

In September 2021, a COVID vaccine mandate for referees and NBA team members working within 15 feet of athletes and players went into effect, the Daily Wire reported. The National Basketball Players Association pushed back against the COVID vaccine mandate, however, so the NBA players were not subjected to the vaccine requirement.

Mauer said he was aware that the referees' union representatives have questioned the COVID vaccine mandate and asked for exemptions, but "they wanted everybody to take the vaccine." He highlighted, however, how the players did not want to get the COVID vaccine and neither did the referees.

In fact, Fox News reported that according to the 66 year old Mauer, there were 17 NBA officials who initially refused to take the vaccine. When this season began, however, only four of them remained opposed to the COVID vaccine mandate, including Mauer. He said that many referees were merely "forced" by the COVID vaccine mandate to take the jab because they had bills to pay and families to raise.

"They're scared and I'm not. I'm never going to take [the vaccine]," Mauer remarked.

Meanwhile, CBS Sports reported that New York Nets' Kyrie Irving will not be able to play home games despite the plan of the city's mayor to lift vaccine mandates. On Sunday, New York City mayor Eric Adams announced that he plans to lift the city's COVID vaccine mandate on March 7.

But that still won't allow Irving to play home games at Barclays Center because New York City has a separate private sector COVID vaccine mandate that says, "employers may not allow any unvaccinated employees to report to their physical workplace, unless they have requested and received an accommodation."

Some people are hopeful that the private sector COVID vaccine mandate may soon be lifted as well in the face of changing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).