There was at least the thought that Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving would be accommodated by the organization as his vaccination remains unknown.
The thought can be thrown out the window.
On Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks put out a statement saying that Irving will not be part of the organization “until he is eligible to be a full participant”
“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” Marks said in a statement. “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability. It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud.”
Per New York requirements, anyone over 12 years old won’t be able to enter “certain covered premises” without having at least one dose of the vaccine. The requirement applies to Barclay’s Center, where the Nets play their home games.
During the Nets Media Days, Irving participated in his media obligations via video, sparking speculation that he wasn’t vaccinated.
“That’s on Kyrie and that’s his personal decision. What he does is not on us to speculate what may happen,” Nets star Kevin Durant said. “We trust in Kyrie, and I expect us to have our whole team at some point.”
Irving asked for privacy regarding his decision, saying that he did expect to play in home games in the upcoming season.
“You gotta make sure you respect the privacy,” Irving said. “I don’t want to create any more drama, that’s not what I’m here for. I’m going to continue to inspire and lead in the right way. Don’t say I never did anything for y’all. I hope y’all enjoyed that.”
Though the NBA is reportedly 95% vaccinated, the league has found themselves in the middle of controversy. Multiple players spoke out about their vaccination status and against vaccine pressure at their respected media days.
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards became the highest-profile player to publicly state that he was not vaccinated, and went on to discuss the reasoning behind his decision.
“It’s a personal choice between everybody. 100%. I understand both sides of it,” Beal said. “I understand that there is a percentage of people who can get very sick. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t get sick at all. I lost my smell but that was it for me. Everybody is going to react different. Everybody is going to take it differently.”
“I mean, some people have bad reactions to the vaccine. Nobody likes to talk about that. What happens if one of our players gets the vaccine and they can’t play after that? Or they have complications after that? Because there are cases like that. But I feel like we don’t talk about those as heavily because they’re so minute, maybe? But they are existent.”
Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic has also stated that he is unvaccinated. Draymond Green and LeBron James told reporters that they don’t believe it’s their place to attempt to persuade teammates to get the vaccine.
The Nets are loaded with or without Irving, as Durant returns for his second season after suffering an Achilles tear in the 2019 NBA Finals. James Harden was acquired by the Nets in an early-season trade with the Houston Rockets in 2020.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].
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