Story at a glance

  • A group of around 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Barclays Center on Sunday in protest over the Brooklyn Nets’ decision to sideline unvaccinated superstar Kyrie Irving.
  • The Nets organization benched the point guard earlier in October amid speculation that Irving could miss up to half the season given New York City’s vaccine mandate.
  • Irving spoke about his decision to remain unvaccinated, saying it was about the freedom to choose.

A group of around 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Barclays Center on Sunday in protest over the Brooklyn Nets’ decision to sideline unvaccinated superstar Kyrie Irving for his inability to participate with the team full time. 

The protesters, many of whom chanted “my body, my choice” assembled prior to the team’s home opener and nearly made it to the arena’s entrance, and Barclays temporarily shut down access at the main gate, ESPN reported

"Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to clear protestors from the main doors on the plaza and ensure guests could safely enter the arena," a Barclays Center spokesperson said in a statement, according to ESPN. "Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule."


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The Nets organization benched the point guard earlier in October amid speculation that Irving could miss up to half the season given New York City’s vaccine mandate, which would exclude him from playing in home games at The Barclays Center.

“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement at the time. 

“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.

Irving spoke about his decision to remain unvaccinated in an Instagram live post this month, saying it was about the freedom to choose. 

“It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money? You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship? You think I really just want to give up my job?” Irving said

“Once again, I’m going to repeat this. This is not about the Nets, this is not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, it’s not politics,” Irving continued. "It’s not any one thing. “It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”


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Published on Oct 25, 2021