Nets star Kyrie Irving is now eligible to play in home games despite being unvaccinated, as New York City has removed vaccine requirements for athletes and performers.
He now would like to see the mandates lifted for everyone, he told reporters, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“I’ve been saying from the beginning with all this, it’s never been just about me, and any special privilege or exemption,” Irving said. “I think there are a lot of people dealing with real consequences from being unvaccinated. And I don’t think it’s talked about enough in terms of our essential workers and people on the frontlines, and it’s just it’s a whole community of us that really want to stand together.
“And though I’m very appreciative of Mayor (Eric) Adams doing what he did, and everyone in our Nets organization, everyone sending in notes to the mayor and tweets or Instagram posts or wherever you call it.
“You know, now is the time to really get all of us included and get everybody back to work so we get some normalcy around here. But I know everybody still feels it, and there’s a whole community of people that have lost their jobs due to this mandate as well. And I’m just putting care out for them most importantly, and standing alongside of them.”
Irving also indicated, given the lifting of the mandates, he intends to sign with the Nets for the long term, as we relayed earlier.
He also pledged to offer assistance to union workers who were let go from their jobs for refusing the vaccine. “There’s some progressive action we can take,” he said, “yeah, we will.”
Mostly, Irving is just excited about the idea of finally being able to play in home games, as well as again to play in games at Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks. Irving has had some the best games of his career at MSG.
“Please take my comment serious when I say I’ve been pinching myself since Wednesday and Thursday, because there was a time where I got my hopes really, really high and all the air was just let out,” Irving said. “And it’s just a level of disappointment, and I didn’t want to get too excited. And still tonight, I’m trying to focus on this game. But I know tomorrow will eventually come, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be playing back in Brooklyn.”