NBA star who refused Covid-19 vaccine allowed back in team
In a U-turn, the Brooklyn Nets announced that star player Kyrie Irving would be allowed to rejoin the team, months after he was banned from playing and practicing over his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks announced on Friday that “after discussions with our coaches, players and staff, the organization has decided to have Kyrie Irving re-join the team for games and practices in which he is eligible to participate.”
“We arrived at this decision with the full support of our players and after careful consideration of our current circumstances, including players missing games due to injuries and health and safety protocols,” Marks explained, adding that Irving would make the Nets “a better team” and more balanced.
We look forward to Kyrie’s return to the lineup, as well as getting our entire roster back together on the court
Irving will still not be able to play at indoor arenas in New York, but will now be able to play games on the road in other states where restrictions are less strict.
Irving – who has refused to get vaccinated and was criticized for liking vaccine ‘conspiracy theory’ posts on Instagram earlier this year – has not been able to play with the Brooklyn Nets since October due to New York City’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, which prohibits people from entering indoor arenas unless they have proof of vaccination.
By allowing Irving to hit the court again, the Nets backpedal on their previous assurances that the anti-mandate star would not be allowed back until he agrees to get the Covid-19 shot.
In October, Marks said Irving would not be allowed to “play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” which would mean becoming fully vaccinated.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” Marks said at the time, adding however that “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.”