NBA

New York mayor rules out making exception for Nets star Irving

By Sports Desk February 28, 2022

New York Mayor Eric Adams has ruled out the prospect of making an exception to coronavirus rules that would allow Kyrie Irving to play at home for the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving is unvaccinated which means he is unable to play for the Nets when they have games at Barclays Center under current guidelines, even though he can play in the NBA on the road.

A quirk in the rules means away players from other teams can play in New York City even if they have not had the vaccine, a situation Adams accepts "makes no sense" and is "ridiculous".

Adams hopes Irving can play for the Nets at home soon but will not change the rules early for one person because of the example it would set to the city's employees.

"These are the rules and I have to follow the rules," Adams said to CNBC. 

"If I don't, I'm going to open the door that is sending the wrong message to everyday employees.

"Listen, I want Kyrie on the court. I would do anything to get that ring. So badly, I want it. 

"But there's so much at stake here. And I spoke with the owner of the team. We want to find a way to get Kyrie on the court, but this is a bigger issue."

 

Adams added: "I can't have my city closed down again.

"It would send the wrong message just to have an exception for one player when we're telling a countless number of New York City employees, 'If you don't follow the rules, you won't be able to be employed'.

"Businesses have their vaccine mandates. City employees have their vaccine mandates. I have to follow the rules. And trust me, I want Kyrie on the court.

"We are here right now opening our city because of vaccine mandates. We can't close down again. I can't have my city close down again."

Irving said at the weekend he could see "light at the end of the tunnel" in his bid to play home games for the Nets and appreciated comments from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who questioned the rules that allow unvaccinated road players to take to the court in New York.

The Nets (32-29) are at home against the Toronto Raptors (32-27) on Monday, having earned a key road win at NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks last time out, Irving starring with a game-high 38 points.

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