Kyrie Irving clarifies position on vaccine as Brooklyn Nets issue ultimatum
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Kyrie Irving will remain out of the Brooklyn Nets after choosing not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Previous reports indicated that Irving would only have been able to play in away games, according to New York City guidelines, meaning that he would not be available for 41 home games in the regular season, however, the manager confirmed today. Nets general Sean Marks in a statement. that Irving will not be able to play or practice with the team until he is “eligible to be a full participant.”
“Given the changing nature of the situation and after in-depth deliberation, we have decided that Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.
“Kyrie has made a personal decision and we respect her individual right to choose. Currently, the election restricts her ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not allow any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”
According to a report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Irving, who has not been with the team during the preseason, is opposed not to the vaccine itself, but to the broader implications of the workplace mandates, with one source which says “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless.”
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of Irving’s decision have told The Athletic that Irving is not against vaccines and that his stance is that he is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates. It’s a stance that Irving has explained to his close teammates. For him, this is a bigger fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihoods, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. It is a decision that you believe you are capable of making given the dynamics of your current life.
So what does this mean for the Nets?
Under New York City guidelines, Knicks and Nets players who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are prohibited from entering their local stadiums for both practices and games.
Last week, the city determined that Brooklyn’s practice facility was private, meaning Irving could practice with the team, yet today’s Nets announcement has put the ball firmly on Irving’s court.
The confrontation between the organization and one of its star players has generated much speculation about his future in Brooklyn. As trade rumors circulate, Irving may choose not to participate in the final year of his deal and become a free agent next season, which means teams are hesitant to give up too much on a deal.
On top of that, Marc Stein has recently reported that Irving could consider retiring if he were traded to another team. After he and Durant teamed up in free agency, moving Irving would be a tricky situation to handle, with a resolution that is no closer to being found before the start of the regular season next week.
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