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Kyrie Irving’s Playing Status: Rules for Rules sake

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

The Brooklyn Nets were fined $50,000 because Kyrie Irving entered the Nets locker room following their 110-107 win over the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon. He was allowed to enter the Barclays Center as a fan, but he was not allowed to enter the Nets locker room as a player. Meanwhile, he will be permitted to enter the locker room tonight when the Nets visit the Orlando Magic. Seems silly doesn’t it? The NBA is essentially hamstrung in regards to Kyrie’s home status based upon NYC’s vaccine mandates. The result, a hefty fine and an evolving public joke for the NBA.

Kyrie Irving Overview

Kyrie Irving has been one of the best players in the NBA since he entered the league as the first overall pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft. He has arguably some of the best ball-handling skills the league has ever seen, and his ability to finish at the rim amongst taller defenders is unmatched. Kyrie has also shown that he is a major three-point threat, shooting just under 40% from three-point range since the start of his career. With career averages of 22 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds, it’s hard to argue against the fact that he's a dominant point guard in the NBA. The 29-year-old out of Duke University is a 7-time all-star, an NBA champion, and a future member of the hall-of-fame. He deserves to showcase his skills on his home court for the Brooklyn Nets.

COVID-19 Rules

New York had a workplace vaccine mandate when the season first started, although it was lifted effective March 7th, 2022. However, it remains that in-person workers must still show proof of at least one vaccine dose. Kyrie Irving has been outspoken in terms of his decision not to get the vaccine, and I applaud him for doing so despite the negative effects it has had both on his career and in the media.

However, the COVID-19 rules still in effect have ridiculous and nonsensical results. As a result of Kyrie Irving being a player for the Brooklyn Nets, a team governed by New York law, he is unable to play in home games. However, opposing players who play at the Barclays Center, with the same vaccine status as Kyrie Irving, are allowed to play in games.

Secondly, and quite possibly even more ridiculous, the rules permit Kyrie Irving to attend the games as a fan but not celebrate with his team in the locker room following a close win. Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out on Twitter that the locker room is part of the “workplace environment” for the Brooklyn Nets. His presence in the locker room as an unvaccinated player is seen as a violation of the health and safety protocols, and ultimately, the Brooklyn Nets were fined $50,000.

Since the start of COVID-19, the world has changed in many ways that make it difficult to get used to. These rules just seem to have no real purpose, as the result of enforcing them leads to nonsensical outcomes. Here’s to hoping COVID-19 rules change, and we can see the enigma that is Kyrie Irving back in the Barclays Center playing basketball soon.

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