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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during the second half of Game Two of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center on May 25, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo : Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
The Brooklyn Nets have a huge problem on their hands just weeks before the new NBA season. One of the team’s key players, Kyrie Irving, has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, jeopardizing his stint with the Nets this coming 2021-22 campaign.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order last month, requiring pro athletes residing in New York to show proof that they have gotten at least one vaccine shot before they are allowed to practice or play indoors.
Irving refuses to address his vaccination status
The strict health protocols in New York already affected Irving on Monday’s media day, with the former NBA champion forced to participate remotely via Zoom. While all 15 of his Nets’ teammates entertained the media’s questions at the Barclays Center, Irving had to address the reporters through a screen.
When asked about his vaccination status, Irving repeatedly requested privacy, telling reporters that he planned to release more information regarding the matter later. Irving said, “I know that I’ll be there every day no matter what and just be present for my teammates as one of the leaders on the team and be there for my growing tribe off the court.”
Irving said that distractions were the last thing he wanted to create and that he’s doing his best to maintain this with good intentions and a good heart. Sources told ESPN that Irving is expected to travel with the Nets to San Diego on Monday and take part in Brooklyn’s training camp this week.
Training camps are fine, but the main question is: will he be available to play for the Nets once the regular season starts? As it stands, Irving wouldn’t be able to play for the Nets in Brooklyn’s home games, given De Blasio’s directive regarding unvaccinated pro athletes.
Is Kyrie Irving an anti-vaxxer?
Though Irving refused to answer the media’s queries on Monday about his vaccination status, his aunt Tyki shed some light on the NBA star’s stance regarding the issue in a Rolling Stone article. According to Tyki, Kyrie’s apprehension about the COVID-19 vaccine is based on moral grounds and not religious-based.
Tyki also made fun of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, calling him “Dr. False-y.” Rolling Stone also reported that Irving has recently liked posts from an anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist on Instagram.
If that is indeed Kyrie’s point of view regarding the matter, the Nets have a major dilemma. It will be difficult to build chemistry with Irving this season if he is to miss the Nets’ 41 home games. Also, he won’t be able to practice in Brooklyn the entire season if he is still unvaccinated. And come playoff time, Irving will only be able to play for Brooklyn on the road.
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