The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets have been fined $50,000 for letting star Kyrie Irving into the locker room during a game in which he was unable to play because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kyrie attended the Sunday game for the Nets and sat across the arena from his team as his team defeated the New York Knicks 110-107. There is no longer a mandate that fans be vaccinated to enter the arena, but there is still one requiring it for players.
Irving also attended the ACC Tournament championship game the night before. After the Knicks game ended, he walked with Kevin Durant to the locker room, who had just scored a season-high 53 points.
The league said in a statement Monday that the Nets violated New York City law and league health and safety protocols by allowing Irving to come into the locker room. Unlike the stands, the locker room is considered part of the teams workplace environment.
Durant used a good part of his postgame interview calling on New York City Mayor Eric Adams to change the mandate, calling it “ridiculous” that unvaccinated people can be in the arena but not play in it. Coach Steve Nash admitted that Irving was in the locker room at halftime.
The Nets released a statement from Durant on Monday in which he explained the criticism he directed a day earlier at Adams, who took office in January.
“The last two years have been a difficult and painful time for New Yorkers, as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of the rules and mandates,” Durant said.
“I do appreciate the task the mayor has in front of him with all this city has been through. My frustration with the situation doesn’t change the fact that I will always be committed to helping the communities and cities I live in and play in.”
Until this week, proof of vaccination was required for fans. Though this mandate has been lifted, there is still one in place for those working at the arena. The Nets are already aggravated because that didn’t apply to visitors, allowing an unvaccinated opponent to play when Kyrie couldn’t. They seemed even more frustrated on Sunday when Irving’s arrival created a scene at a nationally televised game.
Article by: Chris Steele, iHearts143Quotes Team member