NEW YORK, Kyrie Irving may continue to refuse the COVID-19 vaccination.
He won’t play for Brooklyn Nets until it is his turn.
Tuesday’s announcement by the Nets made clear that Irving will not be allowed to practice or play with them until he can participate fully in games, ending any speculation that he would only play in road games.
Irving didn’t say he wasn’t vaccinated and asked for privacy via Zoom on September 27.
He had never been to New York where the mandate states that professional athletes who play for the team must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to practice or play in public venues.
General manager Sean Marks stated that Kyrie has made clear that he has the right to make his own decision in this matter. We respect that he has the option to make his own decision. Right now, what is best for the organization? The path we are on.
Private information about players’ health is not allowed by teams. Marks replied Tuesday that Irving had been vaccinated. That’s probably quite clear.
Marks stated that he made the decision with Joe Tsai, his owner, and added that it was a result of discussions with Irving and other associates.
Marks stated that Kyrie is a passionate basketball player and wants to participate with his teammates. “But again, Kyrie made this choice and he was fully aware of it.”
Irving was not eligible to practice in New York with the Nets until Friday when the city informed the team that the training facility was private.
Irving joined the team for an outdoor practice on Saturday, and then worked out with Nets on Sunday. However, Irving did not play in Brooklyn’s exhibition match at Philadelphia on Monday.
Steve Nash, the coach of the Nets, stated that they knew Irving was going to miss some games. It will not be Irving for all games, at least for now.
The Nets were considered the favorite to win the NBA title with Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant. After Irving injured his ankle, they were eliminated by Milwaukee Bucks in round two of the playoffs last season.
Marks admitted that the Nets were not as strong without Irving. However, they might still be good enough.
Richard Jefferson, a former Nets star and now a YES Network employee, stated that the Nets are more than capable of winning a championship at this time. “I believe Kyrie making them a heavy favorite makes them, in mine, and that’s just the way it is. This team could win 55 to 60 games without Kyrie. This team could win 55 games without Kyrie.
Marks couldn’t foresee Irving’s absence from the team and wouldn’t speculate on whether the Nets would trade Irving.
Marks stated that the hope was that Kyrie will return. “We will welcome him back with open arms under different circumstances, so we have to wait and watch how that unfolds. We need to keep our eyes on the 16 players who will be joining us on the roster.
Although NBA players do not have to be vaccinated they are subject to more testing and restrictions that limit their ability to play with their teammates. According to the league, players won’t get paid for games they don’t play because they aren’t eligible.
Marks stated that Irving would continue to be paid for road games.
Although teammates said they supported Irving’s decision, Marks indicated that there was concern about the reaction of fans. New York was struck hard by the virus in March 2020, and the Nets’ arena was made a vaccination center this spring.
Marks stated that there are many, many workers who have lost their jobs due to this. There are also people who have lost loved one’s and so forth. Marks was serious. And we play basketball. Although it’s a serious job and we take it very seriously, we have no control over these mandates. We can only abide by these mandates and believe that science and those governing — whether it be our city or our state — are making the right calls to us all to get back to safety and move forward into a healthier and safer environment.