Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai expects Kyrie Irving to “get vaccinated as soon as possible,” but was adamant that the star must be vaccinated to play in the franchise as long as New York has a term.
“I don’t know,” Tsai said. to ESPN when asked when he thinks Irving will play again. “Or you have to be vaccinated to come back if the New York mandate is still in effect. And don’t ask me when they can or can’t change the New York mandate. Again, if you ask the people who are making decisions at the level of the city, they are going to say that we are going to trust science, to trust what the health department tells us [in order to proceed]. “
Tsai said it was a team decision for Irving not to play until he meets New York’s COVID-19 mandate, adding that he has not spoken with Irving since the collaboration decision was made on October 12.
“Obviously, Kyrie has his own beliefs, so I respect him. But we have to make a team decision. This is not a decision about him,” said Tsai, who owns the team with his wife, Clara Wu Tsai. “This is a decision about where we go as a team. And it’s just not sustainable for us to have a team with a player who comes in and goes out, no home games, just away. What do you do then in training?”
As a result of a New York City mandate, which requires proof of vaccination to enter indoor stadiums, Irving is currently ineligible to play in Brooklyn home games in 2021–22. However, New York officials considered the HSS Training Center in Brooklyn to be a “private facility.” Despite this move, Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said Oct. 14 that the team will not allow Irving to play or practice “until he is eligible to be a full participant.”
League commissioner Adam Silver expressed disappointment on opening night that Irving was not with the team, but reiterated that he should get vaccinated.
“I understand that it’s not just Kyrie, there are people in this country who don’t agree with the idea of getting vaccinated,” Silver said. “But, at least for all I understand, science is firmly on the side of getting vaccinated, and this is, in essence, a miracle vaccine.”
Hall of Famer Charles Barkley urged Irving to think about those around him who could be affected by his decision during the same TNT pregame show.
“First of all, you will not vaccinate yourself. You get it for other people … I think everyone should get vaccinated, “Barkley said.” I’m really proud of the Nets for putting their foot down and saying we’re not going to deal with this half with, half without. The only thing that bothers me is that he’s still going to make $ 17 million sitting at home. “
Meanwhile, a group of protesters gathered outside the Barclays Center ahead of the house opening last week, shouting “No vaccine mandate. Support Kyrie. “ On the issue of the protest, Tsai, who advocates getting vaccinated, told ESPN: “They are hijacking the issue, but it is dangerous because we have a life or death situation. The fact is, if you are not vaccinated and if you contract COVID -19, you are much more likely to get seriously ill and end up in ICU and possibly die. That’s the consequence. “
After news broke that he was ineligible, Irving explained on Instagram live that he would continue to maintain his physical condition until he regained eligibility.
“No one is going to kidnap my voice. No one is going to take away the power I have to talk about these things, “Irving said.” Don’t think I’m retiring. Don’t think I’m going to give up this game because of a vaccine mandate or to go unvaccinated. Don’t believe any of that shit, man. Be aware of what is being said before I have a chance to get on the podium and speak for myself. “
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.