Mayor Eric Adams Says Vaccination Rule Keeping Kyrie Irving From Playing In Barclays Is 'Unfair,' Reluctant To Change It

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the 90th Winter Meeting of USCM on January 20, 2022, in Washington, DC.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the 90th Winter Meeting of USCM on January 20, 2022, in Washington, DC.

As the NBA heads into its All-Star break, Brooklyn Nets sports fans wonder if they are ever going to see an iteration of “the big three” on their home floor. The makeup of the three-star players has changed with the trade for Ben Simmons–while Kevin Durant recovers from a knee injury and Simmons gets caught up to speed, all eyes look to guard Kyrie Irving and his vaccination status.

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul just lifted the state’s “mask or vax” requirement last week. That would allow away unvaccinated team players inside sports venues, but any unvaccinated players on the home team will still not be able to play. Remember, the city of New York still has its vaccination requirement in place–which includes the Barclays Center.

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In terms of changing it, that duty falls on the shoulders of Mayor Eric Adams, who, according to the New York Post, thinks the rule is unfair:

From the New York Post:

“First of all, I think the rule’s unfair. I believe that we are saying to out-of-town athletes that they can come in and not be vaccinated, yet New York athletes do have to be vaccinated,” Adams said at City Hall in response to a reporter’s question about Silver’s comments.

“I think it’s unfair,” the mayor said.

Even with the confusion with the city and state mandates clashing together, Mayor Adams also believes that lifting the vaccination requirement would send the “wrong message.”

“I am really, really leery about sending the wrong message. Having this city close down again keeps me up at night, and the message was put in place, the rule was put in place, to start changing it now I think it would send mixed messages,” he said.

“I’m struggling with this, just to be honest with you,” the mayor added.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also spoke about the mixed signals in the law only applying to home players:

From ESPN:

“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players,” Silver said. “I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, 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. To me that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.”