Nets won’t play Kyrie Irving due to Covid-19 vaccine mandate

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said Tuesday that the organization decided to send Kyrie Irving away from the team.
  • Marks said Irving has to comply with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate to fully participate.
  • Irving said he’s doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kyrie Irving said Wednesday he didn’t want to lose salary or a chance to compete for a championship with the Brooklyn Nets, but was doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Nets decided that Irving wouldn’t be with the team because he isn’t eligible to play in home games, where a New York mandate requires professional athletes on one of the city’s teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues.

On Tuesday, Nets General Manager Sean Marks said “Kyrie has made a personal choice” to not be vaccinated.

“We respect his individual right to choose,” Marks said in a statement. “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.”

Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving said he loved basketball and wasn’t going to retire.

“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is,” Irving said. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”

Irving would have been able to practice with the Nets and play in road games outside New York. The Nets will pay him for those but he is giving up about half of his $35 million salary by missing the home games.

The All-Star guard said he supported people who were and weren’t vaccinated and expressed appreciation for doctors. As of Tuesday, 96% of NBA players have been vaccinated, a league source told CBS News

Irving didn’t give any indication that he was against being vaccinated, just that he was deciding not to.

“Once again, I’m going to repeat this. This is not about the Nets, this is not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, it’s not politics,” Irving said. “It’s not any one thing.

“It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”

Irving hasn’t spoken to reporters since the Nets’ media day on Sept. 27, when he appeared via Zoom and asked for privacy when questioned about his vaccination status.

Source: CBS Sports

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