Nets' Kyrie Irving won't play with team until he is 'eligible to be a full participant'
NEW YORK - Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving will not be allowed to play or practice with the team until he is "eligible to be a full participant," announced General Manager Sean Marks.
Irving has not been allowed to take part in most team activities while in New York City because the city's vaccine mandate requires pro athletes practicing or playing in public venues to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Nets are prevented by law from revealing whether he has been vaccinated. Up until the announcement Tuesday, he was listed as 'ineligible to play.'
The decision by Marks prevents the NBA star from playing or practicing anywhere with the team.
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets in action against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on January 31, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
"Given the evolving nature of the situation and after deliberate thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant," said Marks. "Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to chose. Currently, the choice restricts is the 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 wasn't even eligible to practice with the Nets in New York until Friday, when the city told the team that its training facility was considered a private venue.
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Irving then joined the team at an outdoor practice Saturday and worked out with the team Sunday, but didn't play in Brooklyn's exhibition game at Philadelphia on Monday.
He will reportedly only lose pay for games he misses at home.
"It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud," said Marks.
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NBA players are not required to be vaccinated, but they face more testing and restrictions on their ability to be around their teammates. The league had said that players wouldn't be paid for games they miss because they are ineligible to play.
Irving hasn't said he isn't vaccinated, asking for privacy when he spoke via Zoom during the team's media day on Sept. 27. Teammates have said they are supportive of his personal choice.
The Nets open their season against the Milwaukee Bucks on Oct. 19.
With the Associated Press