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Absurd NYC vaccine mandate allows Irving to sit courtside, but not play

Mar 13, 2022 0 comments

 The COVID-19 pandemic is no joking matter. Let me say this upfront. As the virus enters an endemic phase of community spread, cities across the country are loosening and removing vaccine restrictions.

New York City has a pseudo-loosening of certain mandates, but in the case of Kyrie Irving, who still remains unvaccinated, he's still precluded from playing at Barclays Center or MSG as a player, but as of March 7 is now allowed to attend as a fan. In fact, Irving was spotted at Duke's conference tournament at Barclays on Saturday taking in the action from the stands.

Look we all know the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room. Irving could have made things easy on himself, his teammates and fans, by simply opting to take the vaccination. If this was the case, perhaps James Harden is still a Net and Brooklyn isn't vying for a spot in the play-in tournament.

But alas, Irving is staying steadfast in his choice, one that he rightfully has, but with it comes consequences in the form of public backlash, fines for not complying and perhaps most importantly of all, not joining his vaccinated teammates on a full-time basis in a pursuit for a title.

Former Mayor Bill deBlasio instituted the KeytoNYC vaccine mandate to minimize community spread of the virus. The hypocrisy of some of the rules within the legislation are being exposed as Irving is as much a threat to spread the virus to attendees at the game as a fan as he is as a player on the court.

Current NYC Mayor Eric Adams laid off approximately 1,400 city employees just last month, individuals who took Irving's exact stance regarding vaccination. So now the optics wouldn't look particularly great for the mayor to reverse course and allow a basketball player to resume playing and get paid, while hard working city employees lost their jobs. It's a predicament that Irving and the Nets find themselves in with the playoffs around the corner.

The fate of the Brooklyn Nets season rests at the hands of NYC politicians instead of within the control of coaches and players in the locker room. Irving's status is one to keep a close eye on over the next two weeks.


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