Will Kyrie Irving be able to play in games at Barclays Center before the end of the 2021-22 season? New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the Key2NYC mandate would be lifted on Mar. 7 but left the private sector mandate as is, meaning that the Brooklyn Nets‘ unvaccinated point guard is still unable to play at home.
Irving’s been vocal about his choice to remain unvaccinated. He hasn’t budged since the beginning of the year. The Nets are the ones who went back on their statement and ended up allowing Irving to be a part-time participant.
Unless Adams makes a change to the mandate, Irving is going to have to either get vaccinated or watch his team play from the sideline. We’re all well aware of his decision.
It was initially thought that perhaps Brooklyn could allow for Irving to play at home and pay a recurring fine, although the Nets don’t have the option to do that. Why? It goes back to a memo that the NBA sent out at the start of the season.
The Brooklyn Nets can’t open up their pockets so that Kyrie Irving can play.
According to New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield, Brooklyn doesn’t have the option to pay the fines.
Here’s the memo:
“Pursuant to the local orders set forth above, if a player is on an impacted team, unvaccinated, and does not have an approved bona fide medical or religious exemption (the determination of which will be made by the league office), he will not be allowed to enter their home arenas or practice facilities in these jurisdictions or participate in any games, practices, or other team activities conducted there,” the memo read.
That option is out of the window for Joe Tsai and Sean Marks, although it wouldn’t be a good idea to do that even if it were allowed. That’d be a poor look for the Nets’ organization.
However, Adams and NYC deserve blame. It doesn’t make sense why Irving can now sit on the sidelines in Barclays and Madison Square Garden but he can’t play. Nor does it make sense why unvaccinated players on opposing teams have been able to play in the city.
Adams said that he must follow the rules, though. Did he forget that since he’s the mayor he can… change them?
We understand the importance of getting vaccinated, especially given how hard NYC has been hit by COVID-19, but the “rules” are hypocritical.
Unless Irving decides to shock the NBA sphere and get vaccinated, or New York alters its mandate, the guard will be part-time during the playoffs.