The Brooklyn Nets won’t play Kyrie Irving until he can play in all their games, unwilling to let questions about his vaccination status linger into the season.
The Nets announced Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, that Irving would not play or practice with them until he could be a full participant, ending the idea that he would play in only road games. Without mentioning his vaccination status, general manager Sean Marks said Irving has made a decision that keeps him from being able to perform with the team.
“Kyrie’s made it clear that he has a choice in this matter and it’s ultimately going to be up to him what he decides,” Marks said. “We respect the fact that he has a choice, he can make his own and right now what’s best for the organization is the path that we’re taking.”
Teams aren’t allowed to reveal private details of players’ health. But asked Tuesday if Irving was vaccinated, Marks said: “If he was vaccinated, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I think that’s probably pretty clear.”
Marks conceded that the Nets weren’t as strong without Irving, though they may still be good enough.
Teammates had said they were supportive of Irving’s decision, but Marks seemed to indicate there was concern for the fan reaction. New York was hit hard in early March 2020 by the virus and the Nets’ arena became a vaccination site this spring.