In recent weeks, several NBA teams have had to cancel training, postpone games, and put dozens of players on the minutes due to the rise in cases. On Friday, the NFL postponed three games due to outbreaks. Medical experts say unvaccinated people like Irving are still at greatest risk of contracting the coronavirus.
While 97 percent of NBA players are vaccinated and the league runs advertisements promoting the use of vaccines, Irving is one of the league’s top stars and the most notable opponent of the vaccine. His position made him particularly popular with conservatives in the United States such as Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, who publicly praised Irving for holding onand those who spread misinformation about vaccines.
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Irving did not publicly discuss his reluctance to receive the vaccine. Throughout his career, he developed a penchant for controversy, such as a strong belief that the earth is flat.
When Irving was signed by Brooklyn in the summer of 2019, he became a key face of the franchise alongside his close friend Kevin Durant. Two years later the anti-vaccine movement did the sameeven protesting on his behalf in front of Barclays ahead of this season’s home game.
Both Marks and Nets owner Joe Tsai have publicly stated that Irving will not be allowed to take the floor for the Nets part-time unless he is vaccinated as required by the city. Tsai told ESPN in October, “It’s just not acceptable for us to have a team with a player that comes in and out, no home games, only away.”
In the same month, Marks told reporters: “Our focus, the focus of our coaches and our organization should be focused on the players who will be involved and will participate fully here,” adding: “This is a choice Kyrie made and he knew about it “.
On Friday, Marks changed his tune, saying, “We look forward to Kairi’s return to the squad, as well as the fact that our entire squad will return to the site.”