Latest Surrounding Kyrie Irving And New York City Vaccine Mandate

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The NBA has been at the forefront of attention amongst all professional sports leagues in terms of dealing with the COVID-19 virus the last few years and commissioner Adam Silver has always been on top of things in regards to making sure everyone around the league is not only safe, but continues to play at a high-level. 

This morning on ESPN’s “Get Up” with Mike Greenberg, Silver addressed the current state of the NBA in regards to COVID-19 and the vaccine mandates that exist around the league. 

In regards to New York City’s vaccine mandate, Adam Silver questioned the rule that applies only to home team’s players and not away team’s players. 

“The oddity to me is that it only applies to home players,” Silver said. “… If ultimately that rule is about protecting people in the arena, it just doesn’t make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays but the home player can’t. To me, that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.” 

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The New York City vaccine mandate has long been questioned by those around the league, specifically because it has directly affected New York’s own Brooklyn Nets and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. 

Up until January 5, Kyrie Irving was held out of games for the Nets simply because he was not allowed to be with the team in Brooklyn. The Nets wanted all of Kyrie or none of Kyrie in this situation due to the fact that this mandate forced Irving to make a decision on his vaccine status. 

Kyrie Irving has not played a single home game in Barclays Center this season and he will have to sit out five of the Nets’ next seven games, as five of them are in New York City, one of which is in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night against the Knicks. 

Following a recent game, Kyrie Irving was asked by reporters about his frustrations of not being able to be with the team every single day and if he felt guilty about not getting the vaccine.

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“There’s no guilt that I feel,” Irving said. “I’m the only player that has to deal with this in New York City because I play there. If I was anywhere else in another city then it probably wouldn’t be the same circumstances. But because I’m there, we have [mayor] Eric Adams, we have the New York mandate, we have things going on that are real-life circumstances that are not just affecting me, bro. So you ask me these questions, I don’t feel guilt.”

Kyrie Irving went on to tell reporters that he is just “living his life as best as he can” and he talked about how the NBA and NBPA assured him there would be options in-place for him to avoid such a problem that he has dealt with all season long. 

While he did not mention him by name, commissioner Adam Silver talked about the New York City mandate at length and gave his personal view on the matter. 

“While, again, my personal view is people should get vaccinated and boosted, I can imagine a scenario where Brooklyn, as part of New York City, with a new mayor now who wasn’t in place, Eric Adams, when that original ordinance was put into place, I could see him deciding to change along the way and say it’s no longer necessary to have a mandatory vaccination requirement, as I said, particularly one that only affects home players.”

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It does seem like changing the vaccine mandate is in-play for New York City at some point over the course of 2022, but when this will be could have major impacts on how the 2021-22 NBA season plays out for the Brooklyn Nets. 

Kyrie Irving not being on the floor caused some internal problems with the team, some of which led to James Harden requesting a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of the trade deadline. 

Wednesday afternoon, New York City mayor Eric Adams talked about this mandate and while he stated that this rule that was put in-place before he became mayor is “unfair”, he did say that he is “leery” about sending the wrong message in regards to the city possible having the close down again because of COVID-19 outbreaks. 

A change to the New York City vaccine mandate does seem like it is going to happen in the future, but it could be too late for Kyrie Irving and the Nets by the time Mayor Eric Adams does amend the mandate. 

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Following Adam Silver’s comments on ESPN Wednesday morning, a New York City Hall spokesperson reiterated Mayor Adams’ stance to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov, stating “Since day one, the mayor has been clear that we will follow the science. New Yorkers should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others, and help New York City recover and re-open fully. The Key2NYC vaccine mandate remains in place, and we encourage all New Yorkers to get boosted and vaccinated.”

With 25 games left in their schedule until the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets continue to move forward with Kyrie Irving being a “part-time” player on the road for them. How this will impact their chances to win a championship this season are yet to be seen.

About Brett Siegel 1870 Articles
Brett Siegel joined NBA Analysis Network as an NBA Insider and Journalist in 2020 after previously working with Louisville Basketball and FanSided covering the NBA. He was a member of our staff until April 2022.