The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks opened the NBA season on Tuesday night, but the Nets were without one of their stars, Kyrie Irving because of his refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who was in Milwaukee for the game, was asked by the NBA on TNT crew what his message to Irving would be if he could sit down with him.
“I’d tell him to get vaccinated, first and foremost for himself and his family,” Silver said. “Next, for his teammates and his community and also for the league that I know he cares so much about.”
New York City law requires proof of the COVID-19 vaccine in order for anyone to attend or participate in indoor professional sports arenas.
Irving’s refusal initially meant he would not be able to play in games in New York, but the Nets brass has made it clear they do not want a part-time player and have removed Irving from the team until he becomes fully vaccinated or the law is relaxed.
Irving reportedly is not “anti-vax” but is using his platform to push back against mandates for the vaccine and give a voice to those who have lost their jobs refusing to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
Silver, who touted the efficacy of the vaccine while reflecting on how far the NBA (and world) has come since the start of the pandemic, believes that at some point Irving must receive the vaccine to be an “engaged member of society.”
“Putting aside this league, he needs to get vaccinated,” Silver said. “The law in New York is if you want to play in an arena, visit an arena, want to participate in an activity in an arena you need to be vaccinated. … After we give out the rings tonight the Bucks will play the Nets and I wish he were here.”