The Brooklyn Nets took swift action against one of it’s top stars early Tuesday, with General Manager Sean Marks announcing the team will not allow Kyrie Irving to practice or participate in games until he is fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to reports, Irving is not vaccinated, and dodged questions about it during a media session a couple weeks ago, calling a private matter.
In New York, it is mandated that any professional athlete playing for a team in the City must be vaccinated against the virus.
Nets GM Sean Marks statement on Brooklyn's decision to sit Kyrie Irving until he fulfills NYC vaccination rules: pic.twitter.com/4LBIQXt7al— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 12, 2021
Marks and owner Joe Tsai agreed on the decision to all but bench Irving until he is vaccinated.
Losing Irving for the foreseeable future is a blow to a team that had NBA Finals expectations.
Irving came to New York two seasons ago with NBA All Star Kevin Durant. However due to Durant recovering from an Achilles tear, he didn’t play in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.
Last season, the Nets added another superstar in James Harden, who was acquired via trade with the Houston Rockets. However the “Big Three” of Durant, Irving and Harden only played in eight games together during the regular season. The Nets were later bounced from the playoffs by the eventual NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks last Spring.
Irving is no stranger to controversy. When he played in Cleveland he requested a trade after playing behind LeBron James for a number of seasons. In Boston, Irving, reportedly had run-ins with teammates before signing with Brooklyn in the summer of 2019. With the Nets, he sat out a number of games last season for “personal reasons” and was even seen on a zoom call for the campaign of Manhattan district attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi, while the Nets were playing the Denver Nuggets.