The Brooklyn Nets are 11-10 in games played at Barclays Center but are 14-4 in games played on the road. Brooklyn’s poor play at home isn’t helped by the fact that Kyrie Irving is only eligible to play in away games due to his part-time status. If he were to get vaccinated, he could play in home games, but that isn’t the only way.
Due to a local mandate in New York City, individuals have to be fully vaccinated to enter Barclays Center, and that’s what’s been keeping Irving from playing in home games.
The Nets decided to prohibit him from being a part-time player at the start of the season, but then two months later, they decided to allow him to do just that. So, for now, Irving’s only going to play in games on the road, but that could change.
Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News revealed that Irving can play in Barclays Center without being vaccinated, but how?
The Brooklyn Nets can pay a fee for Kyrie Irving to play in home games.
If Brooklyn wants Irving to play in home games, the first time that it happens (if it were to happen with him being unvaccinated), the Nets wouldn’t have to pay anything.
Bondy outlined the penalties for those that don’t comply with the mandate. The first offense results in a warning, the second is a $1,000 fine, the third a $2,000 fine, the fourth a $5,000 fine, and any offense beyond that stays at a $5,000 fine.
The question now is if that’s something that Brooklyn’s willing to do.
"“The context here is a global pandemic that ravaged NYC and pummeled our healthcare system. The optics of disobeying a vaccine mandate simply because of vast wealth and basketball is horrifying. It’s not something the Nets want to explore. Nor should they.”"
The Nets can make it happen, and they know it. However, that’s likely not an image that the organization wants to have. It was just a few weeks ago that Brooklyn had 10 players in the health and safety protocols.
Irving’s currently losing around $400,000 in each game that the Nets play at home because he refuses to get vaccinated. If you compare that to what Brooklyn would pay if they did allow him to play in New York, the maximum $5,000 fee is nothing.
The easy way out of this is for Irving to get vaccinated, but that’s his decision to make. Irving held out his end of the holdout well because it was the Nets that went back on their word to pave the way for him to re-join the team.
If Brooklyn’s banking on him to get vaccinated, that’s not smart. And if the organization pays a fee for him to play in home games, that’s also not smart. So for now, it looks like Irving will only be playing in road games unless there’s a sudden change.