Life keeps getting worse for Kyrie Irving, as he prepares to miss plenty of action this NBA season because of his stance on vaccinations.
The Brooklyn Nets have decided to bar star guard Kyrie Irving from practice as well as games in the NBA season that starts next week because he refuses to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
“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,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said.
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“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose.
“Currently, his 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, 29, is part of the Nets’ star trio that also includes Kevin Durant and James Harden.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, New York has implemented new health and safety regulations which do not allow unvaccinated athletes to take part in practices and games.
He could theoretically have played in away games without being vaccinated, but Marks’ statement rules that out.
The Nets begin their regular season against reigning NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks next Tuesday.
Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins had also refused to get the vaccine but relented to keep playing.
Wiggins said after getting the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week: “I guess you don’t own your body.”
The Nets’ hard line position comes after coach Steve Nash said earlier in the week his team would have to get used to playing without Irving on the road.
“We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much,” Nash said.
“We’re just starting to navigate this. A new rule comes in Friday and here we are.
“We’re trying to look at the big picture, the near-term. Right now, I’m not sure that we have as many answers. We’re just trying to re-implement him back into the training arena and get his body right and make decisions as we go.
“We’re just trying to remain flexible, open-minded and figure it out as we go because information is coming in by the half-day here.”
But there’s no wiggle room for Irving anymore after he was banned from away games and practice, as well as home games in New York.
Meanwhile, NBA legend Michael Jordan has emphatically endorsed the NBA’s Covid-19 protocols. When asked if he was concerned by the league’s vaccine stance, Jordan replied in an interview on NBC: “Not at all. Not at all. I am total in unison with the league. And I think everybody, you know, has been speaking about the vaccinations.
“And, you know, I’m a firm believer in science and, you know, I’m going to stick with that and hopefully everybody abides by whatever the league sets the rules. I think once everybody buys in, we’re going the be fine.”
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