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NBA: Kyrie Irving barred from playing for the Nets, GM Sean Marks explains

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks confirmed that Kyrie Irving will not practice nor play games for the franchise until he is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The former Cleveland Cavaliers cager has not complied with the mandate issued by New York City, which will not allow him to fully participate with the franchise.

The Nets, who again will be among the favourites to progress to the NBA Finals from the Eastern Conference, are not keen on having a player who will only be available on a part-time basis. Irving continues to resist the vaccination, and it remains unclear if he will accept the mandate laid down by the city.

“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,” Nets general manager Marks said in a statement.

“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” Marks continued. “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.”

The NBA has not made it mandatory for players to get fully vaccinated ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season. Unvaccinated players, according to People, will be allowed to play games this season, but the league has made it mandatory that the athletes will have to be tested daily on practice and travel days and at least once on game day. Fully vaccinated players will be exempt from daily testing.

However, some of the individual teams and states like New York have stricter rules about the movement of unvaccinated individuals. The Big Apple implemented new guidelines that prevents anyone over the age of 12 from entering “covered premises” in the city, which includes the Nets’ Barclays Center without proof of vaccination.

Marks made it clear that the decision was made in the best interest of the franchise, who are hoping to make it all the way to the finals this season. He refused to blame Irving for the situation, suggesting that it would have been a hard decision for their star point guard to make.

“They’re [the decisions] not always ones that are going to be met with open arms and a thumbs-up. These are hard decisions. Just like I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Kyrie either to have to make that [decision] to not be around his teammates.”


Brooklyn player Kyrie Irving missed the Nets first practice at Barclays Center because of New York City’s Covid-19 protocols
Jared C. Tilton/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA
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