At Tuesday’s first practice for the 2021-22 season in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving was a no-show. After training in San Diego for a week, Irving came home and ran smack into the New York City regulations that prohibit unvaccinated players from playing or practicing. Although Irving has declined to answer questions on his status, various reports strongly indicate that he has not.
Steve Nash confirmed to reporters after practice that Irving did not practice and in fact wasn’t at the HSS Training Center at all. Asked about Irving’s vaccination status, Nash would only say there is “no further update” on his status which has become the head coach’s mantra in recent days. Nash also said he is not concerned that the Nets guard isn’t present.
Irving is now the face of vaccine hesitancy — or worse — in the NBA and the city. New York and San Francisco instituted vaccine regulations — that the NBA and NBPA has agreed to uphold. Under the regulations, unvaccinated players may not play, practice or participate in team activities. Here’s the language...
The league and union have also agreed that if a player doesn’t get vaccinated and cannot get an exemption, he will not be paid for any home game he misses, With the Knicks and Warriors fully vaccinated — now that Golden State holdout Andrew Wiggins has gotten jabbed — that rule will only apply to Irving if he continues to resist. In his case, that would mean roughly $400,000 per missed game.
Irving’s status will also effect whether he plays in Friday’s home preseason opener vs. Milwaukee Friday night or participates in Saturday’s Practice in the Park at Brooklyn Bridge Park. It qualifies as a “team activity” under the city’s regulations. (Irving also has an apparent conflict Saturday. He and his godfather Rod Strickland are running a basketball camp in the Bronx which starts are roughly the same time as the open practice.)
The Nets play one more home preseason game on October 14, then after being on the road for the first two regular season games, the Nets play Charlotte at Barclays Center on October 24. That presumably will be the first time Irving will have to give up part of his salary.
Asked by Newsday’s Barbara Barker if team would consider practicing out of state, perhaps at Nassau Coliseum, home of Nets G League team, or somewhere where there’s not a vaccine mandate, Nash said they would not. “No. this is our home,” he responded. “This is where we’re going to practice.”
- Kyrie Irving unable to practice as Nets return home - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving fails to show at Nets’ Brooklyn practice facility - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status has become a distraction - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kyrie Irving unable to practice with Nets in Brooklyn due to New York’s COVID-19 vaccination protocols - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN
- Kyrie Irving not at Nets practice Tuesday due to COVID-19 health and safety rules - Danny Abriano - SNY