We can get some clarity on the Brooklyn Nets’ non-vaccination situation. On Tuesday, we learned that if the team holds training in Brooklyn, a few of its players would not be eligible yet. It wasn’t a problem on Tuesday because training camp is in San Diego. But the main thing seemed to be that not everyone was vaccinated yet and therefore eligible to play in New York.
Certainly looks like there is some vax reluctance on the Nets. With New York rules, it’s a good thing they’re having a commercial camp in San Diego. pic.twitter.com/y8etZ2Rbz9
– Barbara Barker (@meanbarb) September 21, 2021
Although the NBA has not instituted any vaccination mandate, local COVID protocols in cities like New York and San Francisco do have mandates. In turn, players who have not yet taken a jab cannot participate in basketball activities. This includes members of the Knicks, Nets, and Warriors. According to a recent report by Yaron Weitzman, written for Fox Sports, one of the players who is not currently eligible to play is star goalie Kyrie Irving.
âOne player who could be affected is Nets goalie Kyrie Irving. According to several league sources, Irving has yet to receive a vaccine. The Nets and a spokeswoman for Irving declined to comment on the dossier on Irving’s vaccination status, but Nets general manager Sean Marks was questioned at a press conference on Tuesday whether the tenure of the New York City could dismiss one of the players from their team.
âAs to if they could play today, I can’t say who could play and so on. There would obviously be a few people missing in this photo, âMarks said. âI won’t go into the details of who it is, but we are confident in the next few days before camp everyone will be allowed to participate and so on.
We know Irving is one of the most unique personalities in the NBA. If this report is true, that Irving is indeed one of the Nets currently ineligible to play, it presents a bit of a nightmare scenario for the team. Maybe I’m on a limb here, but I just don’t see Irving as very sensitive to peer pressure. If he’s made it this far without choosing to get the shot, I don’t foresee that a simple dialogue with head coach Steve Nash or general manager Sean Marks will be what it will take to change his mind. As Marks noted at his recent press conference, this is a personal decision.
By Tim Bontemps, writing for ESPN:
The New York Executive Order, which went into effect on September 13, states that anyone over the age of 12 will not be allowed into “certain indoor premises” inside the city – including the Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden and any other indoor gym or fitness room – without providing proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, unless there is an approved medical or religious exemption for that they do not do it. “
Before we learned anything about Irving in particular, Marks had this to add, following Bontemps’ ESPN report:
âObviously I can’t go into details for a variety of reasons, whether it’s HIPAA violations or whoever it is, [but] I think we all understand what’s at stake and we’ve had some very frank conversations, âMarks said of the vaccine discussion with the Nets players. âThese are individual decisions. â¦ It’s obviously out of our control.
âWe are supporting vaccination and building a healthy team. So at this point I think we’re ready to go into the season, we don’t see that – whether it’s a city-wide tenure or a league tenure to follow – be a kind of obstacle to building a team. “
The biggest threat to the Nets’ title hopes is: The Big 3 are not available to play basketball. Everything from Irving’s sprained ankle in the second round of the playoffs to a city ordinance requiring proof of COVID vax threatens to derail their supremacy. Presumably Marks knew all this a few days ago and always has publicly displayed confidence that his team will be available for the start of the season.
On the other hand, he admitted that it was ultimately a personal decision on the part of the team.
This is a very complicated question. Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors, whose team play in San Francisco, could also face a tough decision, potentially banning him from playing home games.
A few days ago, Irving raised his eyebrows with this tweet:
My mask is off. Now take yours off. Without fear.
– A11Even (@KyrieIrving) September 15, 2021
He later clarified that he didn’t want to say anything about COVID.
“Take off the mask” means
You stop being something that you are not and stop lying to yourself. This is the time when you discover the real you and can fearlessly walk around a society that shows off a lot of masks people wear to hide who they really are.
* nothing related to the COVID rule !! Relax
– A11Even (@KyrieIrving) September 15, 2021
It’s hard to believe he didn’t realize fans would assume he wanted to say something related to the pandemic. Maybe he was just having fun with all of us.
Could this issue be the reason the Nets haven’t finalized a contract extension for Irving to date? Stephen A. Smith recently made the news because he claims the Nets would have considered swapping Irving for Ben Simmons if Kevin Durant offered his blessing. But Smith noted that KD did not want to participate in this. Smith says Irving doesn’t just focus on basketball and can be a little “weird.”
What about a contract extension? We have heard that things are progressing on this front. Marks said he had “very positive conversations” with Irving and James Harden regarding the maximum extensions. We would expect a statement from Irving’s camp soon, either to crush the vaccine rumor or to substantiate the claim.
In the meantime, fans can just hold their breath and take comfort in the fact that Marks expressed confidence on this issue which is resolved just days ago. It’s a clichÃ©, but these are truly unprecedented times.