Kyrie Irving Benched by Nets Until He Gets Vaccinated - Rolling Stone
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The Nets Are Benching Kyrie Irving Until He Gets Vaccinated

The all-star guard stands to miss at least half of the regular season if he refuses to comply with New York City’s Covid laws

FILE - Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in New York, in this Saturday, June 5, 2021, file photo. Players like Kyrie Irving, who has refused to say if he will be vaccinated against COVID-19, will be subject to testing on all NBA practice, travel and game days this season. Fully vaccinated players will not. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of a second-round playoff series in June

Adam Hunger/AP

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving may miss a significant portion, if not all, of the upcoming NBA season due to his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Nets General Manager Sean Marks released a statement on Tuesday noting that the all-star guard “will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.”

In order to become eligible to be a full participant, Irving would need to get vaccinated, as New York City requires people to provide proof of having received at least one shot before entering indoor gyms — including Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Irving has thus far shown no indication that he is willing to get vaccinated. When asked during the team’s media day — which Irving attended remotely because he could not comply with the city’s vaccine requirement — whether he would be willing to miss all of the team’s home games, the all-star guard said only that he would “like to keep all of that private.”

“Please just respect my privacy,” Irving added.

Irving has emerged as the most prominent vaccine skeptic among a not-insignificant number of NBA players who have been vocal about their refusal to get the shot. Rolling Stone reported last month on the league’s struggles to contend with the issue, noting that Irving has been following and liking posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims the vaccine is part of a scheme to connect Black people to a master computer. The misinformation campaign has spread across multiple locker rooms, according to Rolling Stone’s reporting, and as of the beginning of training camp there were around 50 to 60 players who had yet to get a single dose of the vaccine.

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