The Brooklyn Nets announced on Tuesday that star point guard Kyrie Irving will be suspended until he is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, which he has refused to do despite being unable to play games in New York.
In a statement shared by sports journalist David Aldridge, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks said, "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."
"Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. 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," Marks said. "It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice."
From the Nets: pic.twitter.com/Q4PDxeo4X1— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) October 12, 2021
New York City currently requires proof of full vaccination for individuals to attend large indoor events, including performers and athletes such as Irving.
The seven-time All-Star has recently become the face of anti-vaccine sentiment among the NBA. Due to his unvaccinated status, Irving was also unable to attend the Nets’s media day in-person, speaking to reporters via Zoom instead.
“Obviously I’m not able to be present there today,” Irving said. "But that doesn’t mean I’m putting any limits in the future on my being able to join the team.”
The NBA has confirmed that salaries will be withheld from players who are unable to play due to their unvaccinated status being against local ordinances. Irving is at risk of losing half of his $34 million salary for Brooklyn home games.
Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters on Sunday that the team did not expect Irving to play in the home games at Barclay Center.
"I think we recognize he's not playing home games," Nash said, according to USA Today. "We're going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much."