Kyrie Irving will stay away from the Brooklyn Nets after choosing not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Previous reports indicated that Irving could only have played in road games, per New York City guidelines, meaning he would not be available for 41 home games in the regular season, however, Nets general manager Sean Marks confirmed in a statement today. that Irving will not be able to play or train with the team until he is “eligible to be a full participant”.
“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after much deliberation, we have decided that Kyrie Irving will not play or train with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.
“Kyrie made a personal choice, and we respect her individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts her ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not allow any member of our team to participate on time. partial availability. “
According to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Irving, who has not been with the team during the preseason, is not opposed to the vaccine itself, but rather to the broader implications of the mandates in place on the workplace, with a source saying “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of Irving’s decision told The Athletic that Irving was not anti-vaccine and that his position was that he was upset that people were losing their jobs because of the vaccination warrants. It’s a position Irving explained to his close teammates. For him, this is a bigger fight than the one on the pitch and Irving questions perceived control over society and people’s livelihoods, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. . It’s a decision he believes he is able to make given his current life dynamics.
So what does this mean for the Nets?
According to New York City guidelines, Knicks and Nets players who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 are prohibited from entering their arenas for practices and games.
The Brooklyn training center was designated as a private center by the city last week, meaning Irving could train with the team, however, the Nets’ announcement today put the ball firmly in Irving’s court.
The stalemate between the organization and one of their star players has led to much speculation about its future in Brooklyn. As business rumors swirl, Irving may retire from the final year of his contract and become a free agent next season, meaning teams are reluctant to give up too much in a deal.
On top of that, Marc Stein recently reported that Irving might consider retiring if he is traded to another team. After he and Durant reunited in free agency, Irving’s move would be a tricky situation to deal with, with a resolution no closer to being found before the regular season begins next week.