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Brooklyn Nets ban All-Star Kyrie Irving over vaccine refusal

'We will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,' says General Manager Sean Marks

Michael Hernandez   | 12.10.2021
Brooklyn Nets ban All-Star Kyrie Irving over vaccine refusal

WASHINGTON

The Brooklyn Nets announced Tuesday they will prohibit NBA All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving from practicing and playing with the team because of his decision to refuse the coronavirus vaccine.

"Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose," General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement.

"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. It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice," Marks added.

There had been speculation that Irving might play solely during away games, but Marks laid that matter to rest.

A seven-time All-Star, Irving, 29, won the 2016 NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He joined the Nets in 2019 but previously played for the Boston Celtics.

Irving is ineligible to play under New York City's COVID-19 regulations, which mandate that anyone entering an indoor gym have at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The Barclays Center, where the Nets play, is considered a gym under the city's regulations, as is Madison Square Garden, the home of neighboring New York Knicks.

There has not been a league-wide vaccine mandate, but Irving will not be paid for games he misses under NBA rules that stipulate players are ineligible for payment if they cannot play due to refusal to adhere to local COVID-19 mandates.

Currently, New York City is the only local jurisdiction with a mandate that would prevent unvaccinated players from taking the court, but San Francisco will follow Wednesday, and Los Angeles will do the same on Nov. 29.

Out-of-town teams are exempt from the mandates, according to the NBA.

The Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors have indicated their entire teams are fully vaccinated, while the Los Angeles Lakers said everyone on their roster will be by opening night.

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