Seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving recently rejoined the Nets part-time, with participation limited to practices and road games.
Due to New York City regulations for people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, Irving is prohibited from playing games held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. However, he is allowed to practice with the team as the Nets facility has been considered a private building.
According to a recent report by Stefan Bondy from the New York Daily NewsGetting vaccinated isn’t the only way Irving could join the Nets for games in New York.
What loophole would allow unvaccinated Kyrie Irving to play Nets home games?
Bondy’s report quotes “The key to New York City”, an executive order instituted by former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio outlining the regulations and punishment for unvaccinated people over the age of 12.
The order states that “except as provided in subdivision c of this section, a covered entity will not allow a client, full or part-time employee, intern, volunteer, or contractor to enter a covered premises without showing proof of vaccination and identification.” . with the same identification information as the proof of vaccination ”.
While professional athletes playing for teams located outside of New York City are exempt, the above statement applies to professional athletes on local New York City teams. So what is the gap? In short, a relatively small fine is imposed on those who violate the plan.
The first offense results in a warning, the second offense results in a $ 1,000 fine, the third offense results in a $ 2,000 fine, and each offense thereafter results in a $ 5,000 fine.
In perspective, Irving has had 1 / 91.6 of his salary, or $ 380,000, taken away for every home game he missed up to this point in the season. by ForbesNets owner Joseph Tsai has a net worth of $ 8.9 billion.
Whether or not the penalties fall on the individual or the business, the potential financial loss would be manageable for either party.
As Bondy described in his report, “The optics of disobeying a vaccination mandate simply because of great wealth and basketball is horrible. It’s not something the Nets want to explore. Nor should they.”
It’s unclear whether or not a motion could be made within the NBA and its players’ association that would take advantage of such a loophole, but given the nature of the mandate and the upward trend of the pandemic, this is unlikely to happen.
As it stands, Irving would only be allowed to play away games if the Nets advance to the 2021 NBA Playoffs. If they were up against the Knicks or Raptors, he wouldn’t be able to play at all if he doesn’t get vaccinated and they keep the current rules.
If current regulations threaten Irving’s involvement in postseason basketball, the team could seek an exemption for its star.