The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 1:00 am

Nets: Irving will not play until vaccinated

Pros must get shot to take court in New York

BRIAN MAHONEY | Associated Press

NEW YORK – Kyrie Irving can keep refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

He just won't play for the Brooklyn Nets until he does.

The Nets announced Tuesday that Irving would not play or practice with them until he could be a full participant, ending the idea he would play in only road games.

Irving hasn't said he isn't vaccinated, asking for privacy when he spoke via Zoom during the team's media day Sept. 27.

But he had rarely been with the team in New York, where a mandate requires professional athletes playing for a team in the city have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to play or practice in public venues.

“Kyrie's made it clear that he has a choice in this matter and it's ultimately going to be up to him what he decides,” general manager Sean Marks said. “We respect the fact that he has a choice, he can make his own and right now what's best for the organization is the path that we're taking.”

Teams aren't allowed to reveal private details of players' health. But asked Tuesday if Irving was vaccinated, Marks said: “If he was vaccinated, we wouldn't be having this discussion. I think that's probably pretty clear.”

Marks said he and owner Joe Tsai together made the decision, adding that it came through discussions with Irving and his associates.

“Kyrie loves to play basketball, wants to be out there, wants to be participating with his teammates,” Marks said. “But again, this is a choice that Kyrie had and he was well aware of that.”

Irving wasn't eligible to practice s in New York until Friday, when the city told the team its training facility was considered a private venue.

Irving joined the team at an outdoor practice Saturday and worked out with the Nets on Sunday, but didn't play in Brooklyn's exhibition game at Philadelphia on Monday.

Coach Steve Nash had said the Nets knew they were going to be missing Irving for some games. For now, at least, it will be all of them.

Marks wouldn't predict how long Irving would be away from the team or get into whether the Nets would consider trying to trade him.

“The hope is that we have Kyrie back,” Marks said. “We'll welcome him back in open arms under a different set of circumstances and so we need to wait and see how that transpires. But in the meantime, we need to focus on the 16 players that are going to be on this roster moving forward with us.”

NBA players are not required to be vaccinated, but they face more testing and restrictions on their ability to be around their teammates. The league had said that players wouldn't be paid for games they miss because they are ineligible to play.

Marks said Irving would still be paid for road games.

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required
Newsletters