Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will not be permitted at the team’s facilities—not even on a part-time basis—due to his vaccination status, Yahoo Sports reports. Because he has not complied with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the organization had “no choice” but to isolate him from the rest of the team until he’s fully eligible to participate.
On Tuesday, the Nets released a statement stating that the team had decided Irving was not going to have “part-time availability” and that he would be welcomed back on the team once he adheres to New York City’s mandate.
Sean Marks, general manager of the Nets, gave an update of Irving’s status with the team as he addressed the media on Tuesday.
“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,” Marks said. “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the 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.”
When asked if he could confirm Irving is unvaccinated against COVID-19, he said, “If he was vaccinated, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I think that’s pretty clear.”
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice,” he added. “Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals, each member of our organization must pull in the same direction.”
Last month, the vaccine mandate went into effect stating that anyone entering an indoor gym, including Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, must have had at least one COVID-19 shot. Because he preferred to keep his vaccination status private, Irving attended the Nets media day via Zoom.
As a result of the mandate, Irving would be unable to play in 43 regular-season games, 41 at Barclays Center, plus two at MSG and another two preseason games in Brooklyn. Marks confirmed Irving would only lose money for those games, totaling $380,000 per game.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kevin Durant and James Harden were scheduled to meet with Marks and Nets owner Joe Tsai on Monday to discuss their feelings about Irving being a part of the team on a part-time basis. Marks said that Durant and Harden will speak on their own behalf about the matter.
While Irving is the most high-profile player in the NBA to have not received the vaccination, the league reports 95% of the players are vaccinated.
Marks remained optimistic that Irving would return to the team eventually.
“The hope is we will welcome Kyrie Irving back with open arms under different circumstances,” said Marks.