The Brooklyn Nets are giving star Kyrie Irving an ultimatum: Get vaccinated or sit on the bench. Sean Marks, the general manager of the Nets, issued a statement on Tuesday confirming that the 29-year-old point guard won’t be allowed to suit up with his teammates until he is inoculated 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,” Marks said.
Marks continued, “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.”
Irving hasn’t officially confirmed he is unvaccinated, instead requesting privacy when asked about his status. But New York City regulations require vaccination in order to play in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, raising questions as to whether Irving would miss home games.
Last Friday, Irving was declared ineligible to play in a preseason home game. However, ESPN reported that city officials had cleared him to practice in the Nets’ practice facility, with the officials designating it as a “private office building,” which would be subject to different rules than a public facility.
Irving did not travel with the Nets to play in last night’s preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets have a final preseason game in Brooklyn on Thursday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, with their home opener slated for October 24.