For those who may be tardy to the party, Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving missed the team’s first 35 games of the season for his refusal to get the coronavirus vaccine. Per New York City health and safety protocols participants who want to play indoor sports must be vaccinated to do so. Despite being without Kyrie the Nets have held the top spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings for most of the season. Kyrie rejoined the team earlier this month but remains unvaccinated. This means he remains ineligible to play Nets home games at Barclays Center. It is something that could become a major concern if the Nets All-Star is only eligible to play part-time in a playoff series.
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Irving Could Suit up at Home for Hefty Price
The best thing for the Nets and Kyrie is for him to get vaccinated. But Irving has shown a commitment to not get the shot. Nets owner Joe Tsai has invested a lot of money in this team and the best possible return on his investment would be winning a title. That won’t happen unless Kyrie is completely available. Stefan Bondy of the “New York Daily News” details the loophole that can make Irving a full-time player.
“In the theoretical world occupying this column space, the Nets break that rule. They play Irving in Brooklyn starting next week with the league’s blessing, or maybe wait until the postseason and pay fines amounting to lint inside Joe Tsai’s lacrosse bag. Let me present the penalties for non-compliance with The Key to NYC, as outlined in Bill de Blasio’s executive order:
First offense: Warning.
Second offense: $1,000 fine.
Third offense: $2,000 fine.
Fourth offense: $5,000 fine.
Fifth offense to infinity offenses: $5,000 fine”
Bondy: Irving Should Get Vaccinated
Although it does present an interesting loophole Bondy says that doing so, wouldn’t be the best look for the Nets as an organization. He also adds that it is not something that they should even consider and the simplest solution is for Irving to get vaccinated.
“The optics of disobeying a vaccine mandate simply because of vast wealth and basketball is horrifying. It’s not something the Nets want to explore. Nor should they,” Bondy continues.
“Irving should get vaccinated. He should’ve been vaccinated months ago, if not sooner because the science is clear on its safety. If nothing else, Irving can send a positive message of personal responsibility to the community’s health. He’s the highest-profile holdout in the NBA and, like it or not, a symbol of heroism to the anti-vaxxers. And since Irving hasn’t coherently explained his stance, the message is left up to interpretation. To me, it’s just defiance for the sake of defiance. Irving’s a noted contrarian telling the world, “Nobody can tell me what to do.””
For now, Irving remains a part-time player, but for the sake of the Nets and their title hopes, he should do everything in his power to become available full time. Championship windows don’t often stay open for long, and the Nets have a legitimate chance to deliver the franchise is first ever title. It will be interesting to see how the organization moves forward as the season progresses.
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