NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Rips ‘Oddity’ Keeping Nets’ Kyrie Irving from Playing at Home

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, Adam Silver

Getty Nets star Kyrie Irving can't play games in New York City.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving is unvaccinated against COVID-19, so he can’t play in home games or at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks due to the New York City vaccination mandate.

Until Irving gets the COVID-19 vaccine, he will continue to be a part-time player for the Nets, who are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings and recently traded James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future draft picks.

Irving has stated several times he has no plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which means he’ll only play in road games if the Nets make the 2022 playoffs. Strangely, a player from a different market who is unvaccinated against COVID-19 may play in New York City and NBA commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t quite understand that rule.

Silver Speaks out on Irving Not Being Able to Play at Home

During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up with Mike Greenberg, Silver said the New York City vaccination mandate that is preventing Irving from playing in home games “doesn’t quite make sense to me.”

With the NBA offices in New York City, Silver has seen firsthand some of the masking restrictions being lifted, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players,” Silver said. “I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays but the home player can’t. To me, that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.

“So while, again, my personal view is people should get vaccinated and boosted, I can imagine a scenario where Brooklyn, as part of New York City, with a new mayor now who wasn’t in place, Eric Adams, when that original ordinance was put into place, I could see him deciding to change along the way and say it’s no longer necessary to have a mandatory vaccination requirement, as I said, particularly one that only affects home players.”

Irving has appeared in only 14 games this season. He’s averaging 24.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 45.2% from the field, 36.8% from beyond the arc and 92.5% from the free-throw line.

The Nets are 4-10 with Irving in the lineup and would be in the play-in tournament if the regular season ended today.

A one-time champion and seven-time All-Star, Irving has expressed hope that the New York City mandate gets overturned so he can play in home games. However, he told reporters in Miami he doesn’t feel guilty for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Irving: ‘There’s No Guilt That I Feel’

Irving is the only Nets player who is unvaccinated against COVID-19. While his teammates have missed his scoring and playmaking skills at the Barclays Center, Uncle Drew has no regrets about not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There’s no guilt that I feel,” Irving said in Miami. “I’m the only player that has to deal with this in New York City because I play there. If I was anywhere else in another city, then it probably wouldn’t be the same circumstances. But because I’m there, we have Eric Adams, we have the New York mandate, we have things going on that are real-life circumstances that are not just affecting me, bro. So you ask me these questions, I don’t feel guilt.”

Irving has a player option worth $36,503,300 for next season. He has been fined $381,181 by the Nets for every home game he has missed this campaign. The three-time All-NBA guard will have been fined a total of $15.6 million by the time the regular season ends.

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