Saturday night, Kyrie Irving sat maskless inside the Barclays Center to watch his alma mater Duke play Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. That is legal and allowed under current New York City health policy.
On Sunday, he will sit courtside — again maskless — to watch his Nets teammates take on the Knicks in a game he is not allowed to play in due to New York City’s remaining private sector vaccine mandate.
Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving is expected to sit courtside to support teammates at Nets-Knicks on Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center.
Irving is able to attend the game as a spectator, move freely, maskless … but cannot play due to private sector mandate.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 13, 2022
Whatever you think of Irving’s decision not to get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine that has saved lives, there is a serious flaw in the way a mandate works if Irving can sit in a building and watch a game he can’t play in.
New York Mayor Eric Adams lifted part of the vaccine mandate, allowing people to go to indoor dining or events — such as a Nets game — without showing proof of vaccination. He also lifted the mask mandate for schools and other indoor spaces. However, he left in place the private sector mandate requiring employees to be vaccinated to work in these buildings. That still ices Irving out of playing at home.
Whether that part of the vaccine mandate will be lifted by the time the playoffs start next month will have a considerable impact on how dangerous the Nets are with a play-in and potentially playoff team (as will other basketball-related factors, such as if Ben Simmons is playing and how he fits in with his new team in a pressure situation).