The only way that Kyrie Irving will be able to play home games with the Brooklyn Nets this season is if he gets the COVID-19 vaccine, which thus far he’s refused to do. Head coach Steve Nash has tried to be optimistic about Irving getting the vaccine and joining the team full time, but on Sunday the inevitable finally happened.
Nash admitted the Nets will be playing at home without Irving for the foreseeable future.
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) October 10, 2021
In addition to the 41 home games Irving will miss by choosing to remain unvaccinated, he’ll also miss any games played in San Francisco, which has a vaccine mandate similar to New York’s, and any away games played against the New York Knicks. The city of Los Angeles recently passed a sweeping vaccine mandate for indoor activities, though the Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers play, is exempt. Irving will also miss away games played against the Toronto Raptors, since Canada is not allowing unvaccinated travelers to enter the country.
Until recently, Irving wasn’t even allowed to practice with the team. New York City ruled on Friday that the Nets’ practice facility is an office building, meaning that the city’s vaccine mandate for indoor activities doesn’t apply and Irving can enter the building to practice.
Irving’s decision to remain unvaccinated also means he’ll be giving up an incredible amount of money. The NFL and NFLPA recently agreed that unvaccinated players will be fined 1/91.6th of their salaries for every home game they miss due to local COVID-19 mandates. Irving is making nearly $35 million this season, and he’ll miss over $381,000 for each home game he misses. If he misses every home game, he’s giving up $15.6 million.
Nash said that Irving won’t be traveling with the team to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. Philly doesn’t have a vaccine mandate for indoor activities, so it’s more likely that Irving isn’t traveling because Friday was the first time he was allowed to enter the practice facility.
Source: Yahoo Sports