The Brooklyn Nets announced on Tuesday that guard Kyrie Irving, who has not been vaccinated against covid-19, will not be able to compete until he has complied with this requirement demanded by the health authorities of New York.
The Nets announcement also includes a ban on Irving from participating in team training.
The New York health authorities have determined that professional athletes must prove their vaccination against covid-19, if they want to train and compete in public places.
“Kyrie has made it clear that he has a choice in this matter and ultimately it will be up to him to decide,” General Manager Sean Marks reported.
Teams cannot reveal private details about players’ health. But when asked Tuesday if Irving was vaccinated, Marks said, “If he was vaccinated, we wouldn’t have this discussion.”
“Kyrie loves to play basketball, he wants to be out there, he wants to participate with his teammates,” Marks added.
Irving joined the team in an outdoor workout on Saturday, and trained with the team on Sunday, but did not play in Brooklyn’s exhibition game in Philadelphia on Monday.
Coach Steve Nash had said the Nets knew they would miss Irving in some games.
With forward Kevin Durant, guard James Harden and Irving, the Nets were considered favorites to win the NBA title.
But they were eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of last season’s playoffs after Irving sprained his ankle and missed the last three games.
Marks avoided calculating how long Irving would be out of the team, as well as commenting on whether the team would consider transferring him.
“The hope is that we get Kyrie back,” Marks said.
“We will welcome you back with open arms under a different set of circumstances, so we must wait and see how that happens. But in the meantime, we must focus on the sixteen players who are going to be on this list, “he said.
NBA players are not required to get vaccinated, but they face further testing and restrictions on their ability to be around their teammates.
The NBA had announced that players would not be paid for games they missed because of that reason.
But Marks explained that Irving would continue to be paid for away games.
Teammates had said they supported Irving’s decision, but Marks seemed to indicate there was concern about fan reaction.
New York was hit hard in early March 2020 by the spread of the coronavirus and the Nets arena became a vaccination site this spring.