Unless he gets vaccinated, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving will not be allowed to play or practice with his team this season.
According to ESPN, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said the organization was left with “no choice” but to exclude Irving due to his refusal to comply with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The mandate states anyone who enters an indoor gym must have at least one COVID-19 shot.
“Kyrie has made it clear he has a choice in this matter, and it’s ultimately going to be up to him what he decides,” Marks said during a news conference on Tuesday. “We respect the fact that he has a choice, and he can make his own right to choose. Right now, what’s best for the organization is the path we are taking, and I don’t want to speak for Kyrie. At the right time, I’m sure he will address his feelings and what the path may be for him.”
The Nets also released a formal statement from Marks in which he stated Irving would not be allowed to have “part-time availability.”
Irving will be allowed to come back if he decides to comply with the vaccine mandate.
Before the decision was announced, Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash admitted Irving wouldn’t play with the team this season, per CNN.
“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,” Nash said on Sunday. “We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much.”
Irving has not addressed the decision publicly, but sources told The Athletic he isn’t anti-vaxx. Instead, he is reportedly “upset that people are losing their job due to vaccine mandates.”
“To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court, and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood,” the source told the outlet.
“It is a decision that he believes he is capable to make given his current life dynamics,” the outlet added, citing a source who said the star guard “wants to be a voice for the voiceless.”