Irving stays quiet on ‘world of Kyrie’ as questions grow over vaccine status

  • Star point-guard does not attend Nets’ media day
  • Irving has liked social media posts promoting debunked theories

The first signs that the NBA may have a vaccine problem on its hands have emerged after one of the league’s biggest stars, the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, did not attend his team’s media day.

Irving’s exact vaccination status is unconfirmed but according to Rolling Stone he has liked social media posts that suggest shadowy cabals are “implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for ‘a plan of Satan.’” New York City laws state that anyone entering a sports arena or other “indoor gyms and fitness settings” must show proof of at least one Covid-19 shot.

Irving later made himself available to reporters over Zoom. He wouldn’t say if he has received a shot or if he intends to get one. If a player is not vaccinated, he would be forced to sit out the Nets’ home games.

“There’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie and I think I’d love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan,” Irving said. “So obviously I’m not able to be present there today, but that doesn’t mean that I’m putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team.”

The Nets’ general manager, Sean Marks, said last week that some of Brooklyn’s players are still unvaccinated but he expects the team to be fully compliant with Covid-19 protocols when the season starts next month.

Kevin Durant isn't concerned about Kyrie Irving's vaccination status:

"That's his personal decision, what he does is not on us to speculate. I expect us to have our whole team at some point"

— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) September 27, 2021

Irving’s teammate, Kevin Durant, was present at Monday’s media day and said he was unconcerned about the point guard’s status. “I expect it not to be an issue. It’s on Kyrie and that’s his personal decision. I expect us to have our whole team,” Durant told reporters.

The NBA says 90% of its players are fully vaccinated, a higher rate than the US population as a whole. However, according to Rolling Stone there are a number of players still refusing the vaccine on religious grounds or due to a belief in debunked conspiracy theories.

The NBA does not prohibit unvaccinated athletes from playing but they are subject to stricter protocols. Local laws – such as in New York City and San Francisco – prohibit unvaccinated people from large indoor gatherings, meaning athletes who have not had a shot will be blocked from games.


Guardian sport and agencies

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