What a whirlwind of a week.
At first, it seemed like things were finally about to go the Nets’ way. New York City mayor Eric Adams announced on Sunday that he was lifting the Key2NYC vaccine mandates on March 7, which required vaccination for entertainment venues, indoor dining, and gyms. Presumably, this would open the door for a return for Kyrie Irving.
Not so fast.
Though The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had differing reporting on the issue, a spokesperson for Mayor Adams clarified that Irving would not be able to step on the floor due to the private sector mandate, which bars unvaccinated workers from city workplaces. Irving, of course, would fall into that category.
In short, no vaccine, no Kyrie Irving for home games.
Before tip-off of Monday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, Steve Nash was asked about his thoughts on the downpour of news regarding the vaccine mandates.
“I just wait to see how it all plays out,” said Nash. “It’s not my domain to get involved in the policies and mandates. So I’ll just wait patiently and hopefully, we’ll get good news at some point.”
Nash also mentioned that the front office is still looking to dig up information about the structuring of these changes — and whether the team can get back their star guard sooner than later.
“Yeah, our front office just said that there’s going to be a change on the 7th and that they’re just digging into what that means, what it looks like, what’s possible,” said Nash. “And so that’s the only information so we didn’t expect him to play before the seventh and we’re still not sure that he could play after the seventh. We’re just waiting to see what the news is, and I’m sure they’ll let us know.”
Mayor Adams’ private-sector mandate was the cause for firing 1,400 New York City workers that refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine by February 14. It’s unlikely that he’ll go back on his word just a few weeks later and lift the mandate after such a monotonous decision just for an NBA athlete.
There is precedence within other cities in the United States of mayors and other powerful figures making exceptions for unvaccinated athletes. Boston, for example, gave then-Celtic Josh Richardson an exemption, allowing him to play as an unvaccinated player. This may be the Nets’ best option going forward. We’ll see.
- Kyrie Irving on a Brooklyn Nets home court soon? Not so fast - Laura Albanese - Newsday
- City Hall: New Jersey residency does not exempt Kyrie Irving from NYC employer vaccine mandate - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- NYC mayor won’t make exception for Kyrie Irving to play home games - Ryan Morik - SNY
- New York Mayor Eric Adams: Making exception for Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving ‘would send wrong message’ to other city workers - ESPN