Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving’s decision to not take a COVID-19 vaccine could lead to the superstar missing his team’s home games throughout the season.
New York City vaccine mandates will require any person in attendance at games at the Barclays Center –home of the Nets — and New York Knicks facility at Madison Square Garden to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Yet Irving will be able to practice with the team at the HSS Training Center, which is a private business.
Irving joined the team’s media day virtually on Nets media day where he asked reporters to respect his privacy in regards to his vaccination status.
“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,” Nets coach Steve Nash said on Sunday, according to The New York Post. “We’re going to have to, for sure, play without him this year, so it just depends on when, where, and how much.”
“Right now we assume he’s not going to be available for home games,” Nash said. “Anything can change. Who’s to say, the city’s ordinance could change? Anything could change.”
“We found out Friday he could come in the building, so things are shifting,” Nash added. No one’s been through this before, and we’re just trying to figure it out as we go.”
Teammates like Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin have shown support for Irving’s personal choice, but express hope in recent days that their teammate will work things out in order to be with the team as much as possible.
“At least he can practice,” Durant told reporters on Friday, according to ESPN. “But we want him here for the whole thing. We want him for games, home games, practices, away games, shootarounds, all of it. So hopefully, we can figure this thing out.”
“I don’t know to be honest; I really don’t,” Blake Griffin said, per the New York Post. “It’s not something that I’ve experienced before. Whatever he decides, whatever the team decides, whatever agreement we come to or whatever happens, we’re just gonna support him. And when he’s here, we can use him. He’s amazing.”
Irving’s decision could prove costly financially, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted. The 10-year veteran from Duke University could lose up to $380,000 per home game.
The Associated Press reported that the league-wide vaccination rate as of Sept. 30 sat around 95 percent — although the NBA does not have a vaccine mandate in place.
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