New York Mayor Eric Adams has lifted the city’s vaccine mandate on athletes as of today, paving the way for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to play at the Barclays Center on Sunday and for unvaccinated New York Yankees and Mets players to play in their April home openers, sources reporting on the news told ESPN on Wednesday.
The taking back of the mandate that has applied to all private businesses in the city would cover professional athletes and performers. This decision comes as there was lots of debate on the issue that had given NBA and MLB teams hope that the long-awaited move would come to pass.
Adams, who was sworn in January 1 and has eased the city’s COVID-19 policies since, said Tuesday: “Baseball, basketball, businesses— they have to wait until that layer [of progress] comes.”
The wait won’t be much longer. The Nets, currently in eighth in the Eastern Conference and subject to the play-in tournament that begins April 12, will get back Irving, who has been kept out of their 35 home games this season. Irving turned 30 on Wednesday and is averaging 27.7 points in 19 games this season.
Since MLB has the lowest vaccination rate of the four major men’s professional sports, baseball officials were working with the mayor’s office, according to sources, to push for updates to the mandate.
Unvaccinated players on road teams have been allowed to play against the Nets and New York Knicks, and would have been eligible to participate against the Yankees and Mets as well.
Before the expected update to the mandate, unvaccinated Yankees and Mets were not “permitted to enter NYC Club facilities,” which include “the clubhouse, training rooms, weight rooms, hitting cages, and outdoor playing field areas,” according to a memo from the MLB Players Association earlier this week.
During the COVID-19 outbreak on the Nets in January, Irving stood firm in his decision not to receive the vaccine, telling reporters: “In terms of where I am with my life outside of this, I stay rooted in my decision. And that’s just what it is.” Now he can play with no worries.
Article by: Chris Steele, iHearts143Quotes Team member