Kyrie Irving’s decision to remain unvaccinated has been a sore spot for the Brooklyn Nets this year. It kept Irving out for the first two months of the season, and eventually, Sean Marks decided to let the point guard return as a part-time player.
The decision came with a lot of backlash, although a recent poll conducted by Hart Research (for ESPN) resulted in a surprising belief.
Respondents were polled about three athletes who have been open about their refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine – Irving, Aaron Rodgers, and Novak Djokovic.
Out of the three, Irving was the lone one to receive a higher approval rate (45%) than disapproval rate (40%).
The majority of fans approve of Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving’s vaccine status.
According to ESPN, the survey was conducted from Jan. 16 to 18 and included the responses of 1,002 adults over the age of 18.
However, in general, the poll discovered that the majority of fans want athletes to be vaccinated.
"“Overall, the survey found that two in three sports fans want to see athletes vaccinated (66% to 34%), 55% agree that athletes have a responsibility to publicly disclose whether they are vaccinated (36% disagree; 8% do not have a feeling one way or the other), and 59% think unvaccinated players are hurting their team because they are more likely to miss games (33% disagree; 8% don’t have a feeling one way or the other).”"
If the poll included any responses from Nets fans, they likely said that they wanted to see athletes get vaccinated. Due to his vaccination status, Irving’s part-time status prohibits him from only being eligible for games played on the road.
Home-court advantage isn’t a thing for Brooklyn, so it’d be in the team’s best interest to have Irving available for games played at Barclays Center too. However, in light of Kevin Durant’s injury, Irving hasn’t changed his stance on the vaccine.
Earlier this week, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer released a report that detailed reasons why James Harden would be open to leaving the Nets this summer. One of those reasons pertained to the workload that Harden’s taken on in Irving’s absence, which could sway him to get vaccinated.
At this point, it seems unlikely that New York City will remove its local mandate that requires individuals to be vaccinated, which is the only way that Irving can play in games at home and remain unvaccinated. But fans approve of Irving’s stance, so that makes it okay, right?