NEW YORK (AP) – Kyrie Irving may remain refusing to get the COVID -19 vaccine.
He won’t just play for the Brooklyn Nets until he does.
The Nets announced Tuesday that Irving will not play or train with them until he becomes a full participant, which will end with the idea that he will only play in road games.
Irving did not say he had not been vaccinated, asking for privacy when he spoke via Zoom at the team’s media day on Sept. 27.
But he is rarely with the team in New York, where the mandate requires professional athletes playing for a city team to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to play or train in public places.
“Kyrie has made it clear that she has a choice in this matter and it’s ultimately up to her what she decides,” general manager Sean Marks said. “We respect the fact he has a choice, he can make his own and now what is best for the organization is the path we have taken.”
Teams are not allowed to disclose private health details of players. But when asked Tuesday if Irving had been vaccinated, Marks said: “If he had been vaccinated, we wouldn’t have discussed it. I think that’s probably clear.”
Marks said they decided together owner Joe Tsai, adding that it went through discussions with Irving and associates.
“Kyrie loves to play basketball, wants to get out there, wants to participate with his teammates,” Marks said. “But again, it’s a choice Kyrie has and she knows she knows that.”
Irving was also not eligible to train with the Nets in New York until Friday, when the city told the team that its training facility was considered a private venue.
Irving joined the team in an outdoor practice Saturday and worked with the Nets on Sunday, but did not play in the Brooklyn game show in Philadelphia on Monday.
Coach Steve Nash said the Nets knew they would lose Irving for several games. For now, somehow, they will all be.
Along with Kevin Durant, James Harden and Irving, the Nets were considered favorites to win the NBA title. The Milwaukee Bucks eliminated them in the second round of last season’s playoffs after Irving strained his ankle and missed the last three games.
Marks agrees that the Nets aren’t as strong without Irving, though they can still be good enough.
“At this point in time, the Nets have more than enough to win a championship,” said Richard Jefferson, a former Nets star who now works for the YES Network. “I think adding Kyrie makes them, I think, a heavy favorite and that’s just the type. With Kyrie this team could win 55, 60 games. Without Kyrie, the team can still win 55 games. “
Marks can’t predict how long Irving will be away from the team or get in if the Nets consider trying to swap him.
“Hopefully we can get Kyrie back,” Marks said. “We will welcome him with open arms under a different set of circumstances and so we will have to wait and see how it ends. But in the meantime, we will have to focus on the 16 players who will be on this roster moving us forward. . “
NBA players don’t have to be vaccinated, but they face more testing and restrictions on their ability to get close to their teammates. The league said players would not be paid for games they missed because they were not eligible to play.
Marks said Irving will still be paid for road games.
The teams said they supported Irving’s decision, but Marks seemed to indicate there was concern for fan reaction. New York was hit hard in early March 2020 by the virus and the Nets arena became a vaccination area this spring.
“There are countless, countless workers who have lost their jobs because of it, there have been people who have lost loved ones and so on and as I mentioned before it is serious,” Marks said. “And we play a game of basketball. And although it is serious and we take our work very seriously, these are the commands that so far we have no control over. All we can do is follow them and think that science and the citizenry that governs – either our city, be it our state, if the country – are making the right calls for all of us to come back and move on. a healthier and safer environment. “
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