Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving became the most controversial figure of the NBA before the season for his decision to remain unvaccinated.
Due to NYC’s COVID-19 jab mandate, Irving’s personal choice resulted in the star sitting out games played at the Barclays Center.
Rather than allowing Irving to be a part-time player, the Nets suspended him until he fulfilled the COVID-19 inoculation requirement to suit up in NYC.
Nets GM Sean Marks statement on Brooklyn’s decision to sit Kyrie Irving until he fulfills NYC vaccination rules: pic.twitter.com/4LBIQXt7al
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 12, 2021
Irving has played in multiple road contests for the Nets since the decision:
BREAKING: MVP-frontrunner Kevin Durant has entered NBA Covid-19 Health & Safety protocols, making him the 8th Brooklyn Nets player to do so.
This news come a day after Kyrie Irving, not vaccinated, will play away games only, in the near future. pic.twitter.com/FJXSEU6GIp
— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) December 18, 2021
Brooklyn pulls off the comeback win in Indiana, 129-121.
⚫️ Kevin Durant
⚪️ Kyrie Irving
⚫️ James Harden
— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) January 6, 2022
Could the sampler of having Irving, Durant, and Harden on the court together persuade the Nets to play the unvaccinated point guard at home?
The organization may have found their ticket to play Irving at Barclays Center, albeit it will come at a price.
However, the fines equate to pocket change for an NBA franchise.
The Nets may have found their way to playing Kyrie Irving at home but it’ll come at a price.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 12, 2022
Kyrie Irving Could Reportedly Play Home Games if Nets Pay Small Finehttps://t.co/uPC7EvQrhJ
— Mike (@IDontrustBiden) January 13, 2022
If Nets really want to, they can let unvaccinated Kyrie Irving play in Brooklyn – for a small fine https://t.co/PvmW10Gg49
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) January 12, 2022
New York Daily News had the details:
In the theoretical world occupying this column space, the Nets break that rule. They play Irving in Brooklyn starting next week with the league’s blessing, or maybe wait until the postseason and pay fines amounting to lint inside Joe Tsai’s lacrosse bag.
Let me present the penalties for noncompliance with The Key to NYC, as outlined in Bill de Blasio’s executive order:
First offense: Warning.
Second offense: $1,000 fine.
Third offense: $2,000 fine.
Fourth offense: $5,000 fine.
Fifth offense to infinity offenses: $5,000 fine.
For perspective, the Nets once paid Deron Williams $27.5 million to go away. They’re now paying $2.65 million for the shell of Paul Millsap and handed $40 million to DeAndre Jordan for being a good friend. The team’s owner, Taiwanese billionaire Tsai, may wake up tomorrow with an extra $100 million in assets, depending on the direction of the market. Irving, meanwhile, is sacrificing $400,000 per home game for refusing the jab.
A $5,000 penalty to Joe Tsai is like Joe Schmo’s 15-cent library fine. It’s annoying, avoidable, but worthwhile to enjoy an awesome book. And Kyrie Irving is awesome. Besides, the point guard’s presence probably recoups the fine — and more — in gameday revenue. It certainly boosts the TV ratings.
Kyrie Irving could be available in Nets home games if Brooklyn is willing to pay a ‘small fine’, per @SBondyNYDN
1st offense: Warning.
2nd offense: $1K fine.
3rd offense: $2K fine.
4th offense: $5K fine.
5th offense to infinity offenses: $5K fine
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 12, 2022
If I am the @BrooklynNets , I would just pay the fine each game for Kyrie Irving to play every home game for the playoffs. The max payment they would have to pay would be 68k. People would be emotional about it but I wouldn’t care.
— JayWilliams.ETH (@RealJayWilliams) January 13, 2022
The report arrives nearly a month after the Nets announced that Kyrie would return as a part-time player for games outside of New York. Irving has since played in two of Brooklyn’s past five contests, suiting up for road games against Indiana and Portland.
Exactly half of the Nets’ 42 remaining games will be played outside of New York, giving Kyrie enough of a sample size to add value to the team while only suiting up on the road. And yet, at a cost of just $5,000 a game, Brooklyn could have Irving on the floor for its home games as well.
Back in October, the Nets said Irving would not practice or play with the team until he can be a full-time participant.
“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 GM Sean Marks said in a statement at the time.
If the Nets move forward to dress Irving at home, it will expose the hypocrisy of NYC’s immoral COVID-19 jab mandate.
Working-class New Yorkers don’t have the luxury of a multi-million dollar salary to pay nonsensical fines.
But the Nets ignoring the NYC COVID-19 jab mandate would illustrate the idiocy of the rule and show that it’s not about health.
ESPN First Take discussed the topic: