Kyrie Irving missed a sizable chunk of this NBA season because he was barred from competing in the state of New York. Irving refuses to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Under New York state regulations, he was ineligible to play at home. Eventually things got worked out and Kyrie was allowed to suit up for away games.
One of the quirks of the rule has Kyrie completely confused. It is so bizarre that even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has taken Irving’s side. Both see the regulation as hypocritical.
According to New York’s vaccine mandate, only players for the home team fall under the rules. That means visiting teams at Barclays Center are allowed to travel and even play if they’re unvaccinated. Silver spoke about his thoughts on the strange double standard in a recent interview.
“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.”
Adam Silver is right. If the idea is to stop the spread of the pandemic virus, it makes no sense to allow unvaccinated players who have traveled all around the country to play while Kyrie has to sit out. Arguments can be made for or against vaccine mandates in general, but this strange exception seems to undo the entire purpose of the rules.
We will see if the state of New York reacts now that word is spreading about the rule. Many states, even those that have taken a conservative approach to the pandemic, are starting to lift restrictions. Kyrie Irving could be suiting up in Brooklyn soon.
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