New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is making it clear that no exceptions will be made for Kyrie Irving during the 2021-22 NBA season. If he wants to play home games in Brooklyn, he’s going to have to be vaccinated.
The city has a mandate that requires “proof of at least one dose of vaccination for all workers and individuals in indoor entertainment and performing arts venues.” That includes the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Madison Square Garden.
“We have a rule that has to be applied, whether you’re famous, whether you’re not famous, you know, whether you’re everyday working man or woman — get vaccinated because that’s what makes us all safe,” de Blasio said in an appearance on CNN.
Irving performed his Nets media day responsibilities remotely this week. That is apparently due to his vaccination status, though he wouldn’t comment on the issue.
“I like to keep that stuff private,” Irving said when asked about his vaccination status. “I know I will be there for my growing team. I’m not putting any limits on being with the team going forward. I don’t want to create distractions.”
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Of course, Irving is doing exactly that. He has drawn attention for liking social media posts outlining vaccine conspiracy theories, per Boston.com, and because of his playing status in relation to New York City’s mandate.
And if Irving can’t play because he’s not vaccinated, he could lose half of his game checks given the NBA’s new rules about players who live in cities with vaccine mandates.
“Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
As such, de Blasio believes it would behoove Irving to get the vaccine. If not, he won’t be able to play in front of his home fans and help his team fight for a championship.
“I would just appeal to him, get vaccinated.Your fans want to see you,” de Blasio said. “We all want you back. Your teammates want you back. Look, there are teams now that are 100 percent vaccinated. That’s a great example to everyone else.”