NBA: Kyrie Irving to sit out Nets preseason game over vax requirement

Kyrie Irving is maintaining his anti-vaccine stance into the NBA preseason.

The Brooklyn Nets said Thursday that Irving will be ineligible to play in Friday night’s home preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to New York City’s COVID-19 vaccination rules for indoor businesses.

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Mandates in New York prohibit unvaccinated individuals from working in or attending events at many indoor spaces, including entertainment venues. Similar rules are in place in San Francisco and will go into effect in Los Angeles as of Nov. 29.

Irving has made clear he does not want to receive the vaccine, even if that means missing 41 Nets home games plus road games against the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins was taking a similar stance against San Francisco’s mandate before coach Steve Kerr revealed Sunday that Wiggins got the jab. Wiggins tried to apply for a religious exemption first, but the NBA denied it and San Francisco’s health department made clear it would not accept any exemptions.

The NBA itself is not mandating players receive the vaccine, but, like other professional sports leagues in North America, it’s imposing strict rules for those who decline it. The league and the players association agreed on a pay reduction equivalent to 1/91.6 of an individual’s salary for each game missed due to local markets’ vaccine mandates.

The Nets haven’t made clear whether they’re willing to accommodate Irving as a de facto part-time player this season. Brooklyn opens the regular season on the road before welcoming the Charlotte Hornets for an Oct. 24 home opener.

–Field Level Media

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