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The Nets won't allow Kyrie Irving to play until his vaccination status changes

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Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Nets announced they won't let Kyrie Irving play or practice with the team until he is fully available.

  • Irving has not received a COVID-19 vaccine and is not eligible to play home games in New York City.

  • The announcement is a stunning fallout for a superstar on a championship contender.

The Brooklyn Nets are not going to allow Kyrie Irving to have a part-time role.

On Tuesday, the team announced that Irving will not play or practice with the team until he can participate fully.

Irving has not received the COVID-19 vaccine and cannot play home games in New York City due to vaccine mandates.

"Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose," Nets GM Sean Marks said in a statement. "Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability."

The Nets had grown skeptical of Irving's status for the regular season

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst had previously reported that the Nets' hopes of convincing Irving to get vaccinated were "waning." They noted that the Nets would consider whether to allow Irving to participate on a part-time basis.

On Sunday, Nets head coach Steve Nash admitted to reporters that it looked like Irving would not be playing home games - the first public admission that his status was unlikely to change before the regular season.

"I think we recognize he's not playing home games," Nash said, the New York Post reported. "We're going to have to, for sure, play without him this year, so it just depends on when, where, and how much."

Even Kevin Durant, Irving's superstar teammate and close friend who chose to team up with Irving, sounded impatient with Irving's status.

"We want him here for the whole thing," Durant told reporters. "We want him for games, home games, practices, away games, shootarounds, all of it. So hopefully, we can figure this thing out."

Irving was not present for the Nets' media day due to vaccine mandates. On a video call with reporters, he repeatedly requested privacy when asked about his vaccination status.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 76% of the US population over age 12 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people, the CDC found.

Irving's situation is unprecedented

The Nets are in uncharted water and that it is happening to a superstar of Irving's magnitude, on a team widely considered the championship favorites, makes it all the more stunning.

Last season, Irving played in the most games of the Nets' three stars and had one of his best seasons, averaging 27 points per game on 50-40-90 shooting - magnificent efficiency.

Marks told reporters on Tuesday that the Nets will withhold Irving's salary for missed home games, but not road games. Irving was set to make $34.9 million this season and has a player option worth $36.5 million for next season. The Nets had been trying to agree on a contract extension with Irving this offseason.

"It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice," Marks' statement read.

Read the original article on Insider