The Brooklyn Nets has suspended star player Kyrie Irving from the team after he refused to get the Covid-19 vaccine. The Nets informed the All-Star point guard that until he gets the jab he isn’t welcome at Barclays Center.
The New York Post reports:
“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”
Irving’s refusal to adhere to recent New York City vaccine mandates meant he wouldn’t be able to play home games at Barclays Center, or even at the cross-river rival Knicks. A recent development had allowed him to at least practice at home when the city ruled HSS Training Center a private office instead of a gym, but simply playing road games wasn’t enough.
The stance from Marks and the Nets isn’t surprising. It was likely also collaborative and included input from the Nets’ other stars. When coach Steve Nash was asked Monday by the Post whether reducing Irving’s role if he resists the vaccine and willingly becomes a part-time player would include input from Kevin Durant, James Harden, Marks and owner Joe Tsai, Nash said it would.
Irving is one of few professional athletes that have refused to get the jab despite knowing it puts their livelihoods directly on the line. Most players that have refused the vaccine have cited their hesitancy surrounding the authoritarian nature of vaccine mandates as reasons to hold off on the vaccine.