NBA Commissioner Adam Silver supports New York City’s local coronavirus vaccine mandate and said Kyrie Irving’s decision to forgo vaccination against the illness wasn’t a league issue.
Irving would be barred from playing home games at the Barclays Center and in San Francisco against the Golden State Warriors for failing to comply with city officials’ vaccination laws. The Brooklyn Nets also drew a red line on Irving’s status, saying he will be prohibited from practicing with the team until he gets vaccinated and won’t be a part-time player.
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“I would like to see our players vaccinated, because I think it’s a public service of sorts, particularly to young people who might not see the value of getting vaccinated,” Silver said on the eve of the 2021-22 season.
“There’s nothing fair about this virus. It’s indiscriminate in terms of who it impacts. And I think it’s perfectly appropriate that New York and other cities have passed laws that require people who both work and visit arenas to be vaccinated. That seems to be a responsible public-health decision.”
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Silver said about 96% of players have been vaccinated and added that he hoped the Nets star would get vaccinated too.
“I hope that Kyrie, despite how strongly he feels about the vaccination, ultimately decides to get vaccinated because I’d love to see him play basketball this season,” he said.
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Brooklyn will start its season against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.