NBA Season Kicks Off, Kyrie Remains Unvaccinated

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Anshu Yadagiri, Staff Writer

One of the major areas of importance of this upcoming NBA season has been a player’s vaccination status. While NBA does not have a vaccine mandate, the regulations for a player being unvaccinated are harsh, and in a few cases, fully restrictive. One of these players is Kyrie Irving. 

 

Irving’s situation has been circling around the league for around a month now, as he refuses to get the vaccine, even if it results in him not receiving pay. While there are many other players around the league unvaccinated, Irving’s situation is unique, as the city of New York requires one to be vaccinated, regardless of who they are. Because of this, Kyrie would have only been able to play away games, which is 41 out of the 82 games of the regular season. However, to even further aggravate the situation, the Brooklyn Nets recently announced that Kyrie will not play any of the Nets’ games this season unless he gets vaccinated. General Manager Sean Marks stated that “Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.”

 

Andrew Wiggins was also in the same situation a while back. He refused to get vaccinated, and he was trending towards not playing all games, and his pay getting docked. Furthermore, he even filed a request to the NBA for a religious exemption from the vaccination. However, the NBA declined Wiggins’ request. Eventually, Wiggins caved in and received the vaccination. The Golden States Warriors have played 2 games this season, and are off to a strong start after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Wiggins has played well in both games, scoring 12 and 17 respectively. 

 

While Kyrie’s situation doesn’t seem too bright at the moment, Irving fans shouldn’t be too upset for the future. Irving recently spoke out via Instagram live, regarding his current status. “Don’t believe that I’m retiring, Don’t believe that, you now, I’mma give up this game for a vaccine mandate or staying unvaccinated,” said Kyrie. It doesn’t seem like Irving is willing to give up his future in the NBA for the COVID-19 vaccine, but only time will tell how Irving’s situation will unfold. The Brooklyn Nets are 1-1, and have so far played the reigning NBA champs Milwaukee Bucks, and have also played the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets are already one of the favorites to win the NBA finals this year, getting Kyrie back will just make their chances much stronger.