The Kyrie Irving situation has always been ridiculous, it’s just taken until now for people to fully grasp the absurdity.
For those who need a brief refresher, let me take you on a quick journey.
In September, Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving participated in his team’s Media Day virtually, raising questions about his COVID-19 vaccination status. In order for Irving to be eligible to play in Brooklyn home games, he needed to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. His absence pointed to him abstaining from the jab.
In October, Nets general manager Sean Marks put out a statement saying that Irving will not be part of the organization “until he is eligible to be a full participant,” meaning that Irving would be shelved even from practices until he received the vaccine.
The following day, Irving took to Instagram to tell the world that he was indeed unvaccinated, saying that “nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies.”
Then, in December, as the Nets were being ravaged by a new COVID-19 variant as well as injuries, the Nets did an about-face, allowing Irving to return to the team in order to play in Brooklyn’s road games.
“Several months ago, we made a decision that was based around what was best for the team,” Marks said via CBS Sports. “What was best for the team at that point was continuity. And I think we all see that continuity right now over the course of the last week and whatever the future looks like may be out of the window for a while, and we’re going to navigate that as best we can.”
Since then, Irving has played in 18 road games, averaging 25.9 points and 5.4 assists per game as the Nets attempt to find some level of chemistry.
For most of the season, the NBA and a good portion of society have been onboard with New York City’s mandate which requires Irving to be vaccinated in order to play in Brooklyn’s home games. On opening night of the 2021-2022 season, NBA commissioner Adam Silver publicly called for Irving to become vaccinated, imploring Irving to get the jab for “himself and his family.”
And then, just four months later, Silver did a complete 180, calling out the hypocrisy behind New York City’s vaccine mandate which prohibits Irving from playing in Brooklyn’s home games at the Barclays Center, but allows unvaccinated visiting players to compete.
“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players,” Silver said. “I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays but the home player can’t. To me, that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.”
In late February, NYC mayor Eric Adams announced the relaxation the city’s public sector vaccine and mask mandates, while keeping New York City’s private sector vaccine mandate, meaning the vaccine is not required for fans attending basketball games in New York City.
It all came to a head over the weekend, when the world was able to fully see the insanity of Irving’s plight.
On Saturday night, Irving attended the ACC Championship Game between Duke and Virginia Tech at Barclays Center, maskless and unvaccinated.
The very next day, Brooklyn welcomed the New York Knicks to Barclays, and Irving was once again not allowed to suit up with his teammates. He did however attend the game, sitting courtside to watch Kevin Durant drop 53 points in a 110-107 win over the Knicks.
Durant, who has publicly supported Irving’s vaccination decision throughout the season, called on Adams to “figure this out” when it comes to his unvaccinated teammate.
“It’s ridiculous,” Durant said, according to ESPN. “I don’t understand it at all. There’s a few people in our arena that’s unvaxxed, right? They lifted all of that in our arena, right? So I don’t get it … I don’t get it. It just feels like at this point now, somebody’s trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. But everybody out here is looking for attention and that’s what I feel like the mayor wants right now, is some attention. But he’ll figure it out soon. He better.
“But it just didn’t make any sense,” Durant continued. “There’s unvaxxed people in this building already. We got a guy who can come in the building, I guess, are they fearing our safety? I don’t get it. We’re all confused. Pretty much everybody in the world is confused at this point. Early on in the season people didn’t understand what was going on, but now it just looks stupid. So hopefully, Eric, you got to figure this out.”
LeBron James saw the hypocrisy, saying NYC’s protocols make “absolutely zero sense.”
FACTS FACTS FACTS!! It literally makes ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE!!! They say if common sense was common then we’d all have it. Ain’t that the truth. 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️ #FreeKyrie https://t.co/EhAcjuMrsL
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 13, 2022
The blue check marks of sports media agreed, not-so-subtly calling out the rules which allow Irving to attend but not play in games in New York City.
Is there a reasonable/sane/choose your adjective explanation to account for the Nets' Kyrie Irving being allowed to attend games Saturday and Sunday at Barclays Center as an unmasked courtside spectator but not be allowed to play at Barclays Center? https://t.co/eE9pniK87p
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 13, 2022
Even I think this is ridiculous. https://t.co/WVaVMjQqfL
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 13, 2022
The court of public opinion has determined that Irving should be allowed to play. Even if they’re late to the party, at least they can see absurdity when it’s right in front of their faces.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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