Brooklyn has told Kyrie Irving he can’t be a part-time Net.
The All-Star point guard has refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and the Nets announced Tuesday that he won’t be part of the team until he does. In essence, get vaxxed or get gone.
“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”
Irving’s refusal to adhere to recent New York City vaccine mandates meant he wouldn’t be able to play home games at Barclays Center, or even at the cross-river rival Knicks. A recent development had allowed him to at least practice at home when the city ruled HSS Training Center a private office instead of a gym, but simply playing road games wasn’t enough.
Brooklyn told Irving they want him all-in.
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice,” Marks said.
“Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud.”
The stance from Marks and the Nets isn’t surprising. It was likely also collaborative and included input from the Nets’ other stars. When coach Steve Nash was asked Monday by the Post whether reducing Irving’s role if he resists the vaccine and willingly becomes a part-time player would include input from Kevin Durant, James Harden, Marks and owner Joe Tsai, Nash said it would.
“We have a pretty collaborative environment. I think we all weigh in and discuss it and make sure we’re making a decision that suits the group,” Nash said.
“We’re so far from I think from that right now I think we’re trying to take things day by day and try to learn as much as we can about what this looks (like). It’s pretty unprecedented, if we have information we’ll let you know. But there’s nothing to decide on right now.”
Tsai has invested heavily and paid record amounts of luxury tax to build a championship favorite.
“So Kyrie talks about it as a sort of personal choice issue, which I respect. But we all need to not forget that our goal,” Tsai told the Post recently. “What is our goal this year? What’s our purpose this year? It’s very, very clear: Win a championship. And the championship team needs to have everybody pulling the same direction.
“So I hope to see Kyrie play fully and win a championship together with everybody else, with all his teammates. That’s the best outcome for everybody.”
Tsai has also been a loud proponent of vaccines, and his company BSE – which also owns Barclays Center and the Liberty, whose Asia Durr is struggling with long-haul Covid aftereffects – demands it of employees. He spoke at length with the Post about how Irving getting the vaccine would not only be positive for the Nets’ potential title run, but a public good.
“I’m a total believer in having that in the fact that vaccine actually protects you from getting sick, getting real sick. Now the other thing is, I also believe that taking the vaccine is also a social good,” Tsai told the Post. “It’s just part of social responsibility, because you’re not only protecting yourself, but you’re protecting other people.
“That’s my personal view, so that’s why we’re supporting vaccinations at Barclay Center. We advocate for getting vaccinated, because it truly will save lives, and it will truly protect other people. Don’t underestimate the social responsibility part of it. It’s not just about yourself, it’s about protecting the people around you. So that’s kind of my view of the vaccine.”
Published on: Article source