Nets can’t pay fine to play unvaccinated Kyrie Irving in New York
NEW YORK So much for paying the fine.
The Daily News obtained a memo sent to NBA teams ahead of the start of the season. The spirit of that memo? NBA teams do not have the option to pay to break the law.
“Pursuant to the local orders set forth above, if a player is on an impacted team, unvaccinated, and does not have an approved bona fide medical or religious exemption (the determination of which will be made by the league office), he will not be allowed to enter their home arenas or practice facilities in these jurisdictions or participate in any games, practices, or other team activities conducted there,” the memo read.
Kyrie Irving is allowed to practise at the Nets’ training facility in Industry City because New York City deemed the building a private office space, subject to vaccine requirements set by ownership, not the city.
But breaking the law is exactly what the Nets would be doing if they trotted the unvaccinated Irving onto the floor at Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden, where both the Key2NYC and private sector vaccine mandates restrict Brooklyn’s superstar point guard from playing in games.
Mayor Eric Adams is set to repeal the Key to NYC mandate on March 7, but the private sector mandate will continue to limit Irving to a spectator role in home games.
Not an active participant.
Hizzoner doubled-down in an appearance on CNBC Monday morning, saying he spoke to Nets owner Joe Tsai and said his position on the vaccine mandate is hard line.
“I want Kyrie on the court. I would do anything to get that ring. But there’s so much at stake here,” he said. “I can’t have my city close down again. It would send the wrong message to have an exception just for one player when we’re telling countless number of New York City employees ‘if you don’t follow the rules, you won’t be able to be employed.’”
It’s not just one player. It’s any player who is unvaccinated but doesn’t reside in the Big Apple. Those players can walk into the Clays or MSG and put everyone else at risk, but if it’s Irving, the rule is hard line.
Make it make sense. The mayor can’t even do that.
“Makes no sense, and I don’t know who thought about putting such a ridiculous rule in place, of (unvaccinated players on) away teams can come and play when [unvaccinated players on] our teams from New York can’t, but these are the rules, and I have to — I have to follow the rules,” the mayor continued. “If I don’t, I’m gonna open the door that’s sending a wrong message to everyday employees.
“Businesses have their vaccines mandates, city employees have their vaccines mandates. I have to follow the rules, and trust me: I want Kyrie on the court.”