Nets to Let Irving, Still Unvaxxed, Play in Some Games

'We arrived at this decision with the full support of our players,' says GM Sean Marks
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2021 1:20 PM CDT
Updated Dec 18, 2021 6:00 AM CST
NBA Team Loses a Star Over Vaccination Status
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving handles the ball during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas May 6, 2021. Unable to attend the Brooklyn Nets' media day, Kyrie Irving asked for privacy Monday when pressed about his vaccination status and availability for home games.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(Newser) Update: Unless Kyrie Irving decides to get vaxxed, you won't be seeing him play for the Nets in Brooklyn anytime soon. You will, however, be able to catch him on the road in certain away games, after the NBA team announced Friday they'd be bringing their All-Star guard back as a part-time player, despite the fact that he remains unvaccinated, reports the Washington Post. "We arrived at this decision with the full support of our players and after careful consideration of our current circumstances, including players missing games due to injuries and health and safety protocols," GM Sean Marks said in a statement. The 29-year-old can't play in home games due to New York City's vaccine mandate, nor in Toronto in March, as Canada will be barring unvaccinated players starting in January, per ESPN. Irving will be allowed to practice at home with his team. Our original story from Oct. 12 follows:

The NBA season is ready to begin, and it looks like it’s going to begin without Kyrie Irving. The Brooklyn Nets star apparently doesn’t want to get vaccinated—Irving hasn’t disclosed his status. The league isn’t going to make him, either, but if he doesn’t get the shot, he can’t play home games. New York requires most people in public places be at least partially vaccinated, the New York Times reports. That would make basketball a part-time job for him, “and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability," said the team’s general manager, Sean Marks, nixing the possibility that Irving would play road games. He’ll only forfeit the part of his salary that he would have earned if he could play home games, ESPN reports.

New York City recently told the Nets that since practices are private, Irving could still practice with the team, but that’s not enough involvement to suit Marks. Team owner Joe Tsai and Marks made the decision together, Marks said. "If he was vaccinated, we wouldn't be having this discussion," Marks said, apparently confirming Irving hasn’t gotten the shot, per CBS Sports. The team still has Kevin Durant and James Harden, and are still hoping for a championship, per the AP. (Irving has been in the news for a while for his apparent anti-vaccine position, losing close to a million bucks just to attend a party in violation of league COVID protocols.)

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