Earlier this month, we looked at some NBA players who had refused to get a vaccine towards COVID-19. About 95 p.c of the league is vaccinated, although a number of gamers have opted out for their very own causes. Most often, an unvaccinated participant might result in some pressure inside locker rooms, although they will nonetheless be allowed to take part. Nevertheless, there’s one lingering case in Brooklyn that has turn into much more fascinating.
The Brooklyn Nets simply introduced Kyrie Irving is not going to be part of any of the group’s video games and practices till he is eligible underneath New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Nets GM Sean Marks made the announcement, stating that Irving “has a option to make, and he made his selection,” and stated no participant on the group would have “part-time availability.”
The vaccine mandate went into impact final month and says anybody getting into an indoor health club will need to have had a minimum of one COVID-19 shot. These gyms embrace Brooklyn’s Barclays Middle and Manhattan’s Madison Sq. Backyard, properties of the Nets and Knicks.
Irving had beforehand been in a position to observe with the group, because the citywide mandate was adjusted to permit participation in personal amenities, like the place the Nets observe. However the Nets have determined Irving solely being eligible for a part of the season wasn’t going to fly.
Consequently, Irving will hand over his paychecks for each Nets house sport this season, together with two remaining within the preseason, plus two street video games at Madison Sq. Backyard. That is $381,000 per sport. If he sits out the entire season, he’ll forfeit about $16.4 million.
Irving will not lose any cash for lacking street video games, for the reason that determination to take a seat him got here from the Nets and never him personally. Nevertheless, this transfer might additionally damage Irving’s numerous sponsorship offers, together with relationships with Nike and Pepsi.
When straight requested throughout Tuesday’s press convention if Irving has acquired a vaccine, Marks stated, “Properly, if he was vaccinated, we would not be having this dialogue. I feel that is most likely fairly clear.”
Marks added that “everybody” within the group was conscious of the scenario, however the determination was made by him and proprietor Joe Tsai.
The Nets had been getting into the season with championship aspirations. Even with Irving sitting, the duo of Kevin Durant and James Harden ought to be a formidable foe for many opponents. But Irving’s absence might show important all through the season and into the playoffs.
Whereas it is unlikely, the Nets might additionally commerce Irving as an alternative of preserving him out all season. If he goes to a group outdoors of New York or San Francisco, he’ll be eligible to play. That will be a final resort, although if the connection between group and participant sours sufficient in the course of the season, it is potential we see Irving on a brand new group.
The place we can’t see Irving is on the Nets bench. Not less than, not till the citywide mandate adjustments—or till he will get vaccinated.